Gov. Inslee: New indoor mask mandate ‘not under consideration’

OLYMPIA, Wash – Washington Governor Jay Inslee says his office has no plans to reinstate a mask mandate, despite a rise in COVID cases statewide.

Washington has seen a slight rise in cases in recent weeks.

The 7-day case rate was 208.5 cases per 100,000 people as of May 9. It was down to 40.4 cases per 100,000 in mid-March.

More people in Washington were being hospitalized with COVID as well, though those hospitalizations have leveled off in recent weeks.

According to CDC data, only one Washington county is in the high risk level. The CDC bases risk levels on hospitalizations.

Clallam County is considered high risk; that’s when the CDC recommends everyone wear a mask indoors.

The CDC considers three Washington counties to be at medium risk: King, Snohomish and Jefferson.

Every county in Idaho is considered low risk, according to the CDC data.

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When asked about the rise in cases and the possibility of a new mask mandate, Governor Inslee said “That’s not under consideration right now. We don’t have any immediate consideration of additional measures like that. We may have some changes in the next week or so we’d discuss in a few days probably.”

Reporters at the news conference did not follow up to ask what changes the state could be considering.

Gov. Inslee did stress the importance of keeping a vaccine mandate in place for state workers and also the importance of getting the vaccine and boosters when eligible.

“I really hope people are getting boosted,” Gov. Inslee said. “People who got one shot a year ago, a lot of that immunity is wearing off.”

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