Inslee: Coronavirus cases could grow to 64,000 by May if action isn’t taken
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee said up to 64,000 people could be infected with COVID-19 in Washington state in the next few weeks if actions are not taken to prevent its spread.
The number of confirmed cases sits at 162, but health experts believe it could be above 1,000 currently. Inslee said the number of infected people could double within the next week or so if action is not taken.
In an effort to stop the spread, Inslee and state health officials introduced new guidelines for nursing homes, and announced an expansion of state policies to help Washington workers and businesses.
During a press conference, Inslee addressed the public’s reponsibility to protect those who are more susceptible to contracting the virus, including the elderly and immunocompromised.
“The risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 appears to be higher in people 60 years or older and in those with chronic health conditions,” Inslee said. “And we know there is an increased risk among people while live in congregated settings, such as long-term care facilities. We need to protect our older adults, and these rules will help.”
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities must now limits residents’ visitors to one per day. Those visitors must be adults and visits must take place in their rooms. Inslee said these steps do not apply to end-of-life situations.
Facilities must also take precuationary meausres, like encouraging employees and visitors to wear personal protective equipment, distsancing themselves socially or visiting in designated locations. Visitors must also sign in when visiting nursing homes or care facilities.
Employees and volunteers must also be screened, not tested, for COVID-19 symptoms at the start of each shift. Those in nursing homes under an order of isolation must also stay isolated in their rooms away from others.
Inslee also used the Tuesday press conference to address the economic impact of the coronavirus on Washington workers and businesses. He announced an expansion of state policies to help those workers and buesinesses financially impacted by coronavirus.