Gov. Inslee issues eviction ban, offers help as more deaths reported

Washington state coronavirus deaths up to 67
Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday issued a statewide moratorium on evictions and announced more assistance for those unemployed due to COVID-19 as health officials released information on more deaths in the state from the coronavirus.

State health officials reported 11 new deaths, bringing the state tally of fatalities to 67 – the highest in the country.

Benton County reported a Richland woman’s death Wednesday, Pierce County also reported its first fatality from the disease, and Clark County reported its third coronavirus-related death. Snohomish County has reported six deaths.

Gov. Inslee on Wednesday announced a 30-day statewide moratorium on evictions of tenants. The governor also asked all public utilities to offer ratepayer assistance. In addition, Washington waived the one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance.

Meanwhile, health officials are scrambling to secure hospital beds, staff and critical supplies. Washington has about 13,000 hospital beds; officials say that won’t be enough. More than 1,100 people have tested positive so far.

In terms of equipment needed to handle a growing influx of coronavirus cases, as of Wednesday, the federal government had only sent about 25-percent of the masks, gowns, gloves, and other gear state health officials had ordered.

RELATED: Not working due to coronavirus? Check here for WA benefits

The latest COVID-19 headlines may have you stressed out, depressed, or worse. Limiting your exposure to others through social distancing — or, if it comes to this, by “sheltering in place” — can do a number on your mental and emotional health. The governor urged Washingtonians with a substance use disorder to consider calling the anonymous, confidential Washington Recovery Help Line at (866) 789-1511. Professionally trained volunteers and staff work 24/7 to provide emotional support and point callers to local treatment resources for substance use, problem gambling, and mental health, as well as to other community services.