Distancing encouraged as holidays arrive
Inslees advise separation, on day-one of a 14 day quarantine window
Last updated 11/12/2020 at 9:05pm
Gov. Jay Inslee and First Lady of Washington state Trudi Inslee urged Washingtonians to stay socially distant and skip gatherings this Thanksgiving, in a tvw.org event, aired live tonight.
The event was timed 14 days before Thanksgiving, to give a heads-up to groups who will gather anyway, so they can plan for a full quarantine prior to the holiday.
"We'd like to talk tonight about what is being called the third wave of COVID-19, and how we can protect our families as we head into the holidays," he said, then urged all to maintain resolve for COVID related precautions so that "we may be thankful when we don't lose more lives to COVID."
Trudi shared the traditions of the Inslee Thanksgiving. She described their family tradition of starting the day with touch football and finishing it with pie and turkey sandwiches. Jay mentioned the holiday tradition of olives on the fingers of the little ones, in the family.
"This year our family will celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we'll do it virtually," he said. "But here's some good news. We're only going to have to do this once."
He noted that this unique Thanksgiving and holiday season is paired with news that medical innovation is in process and "therapeutics are on the way, as is the imminent arrival of a vaccine."
He urged all to look forward to future holidays such as the one next year, in 2021, and skip the parties this year.
"Here's the hard facts, our weekly average of new COVID cases has doubled, just in the past two weeks. We are in as dangerous a position today, as we were in March," he said. "We're in a period of what's called exponential growth and every single day matters."
Concern around hospital capacity continues and the resources tied to those sites are also being protected. Those include personal protective equipment, available beds, and other items needed to make a hospital run effectively. As COVID-19 cases spread, the urge to keep staffing levels at a safe level is a concern as well. Officials have repeatedly expressed concern for not only COVID patients, but also the resources needed for other emergency care.
He did note that the spike punctuates a long and tumultuous year.
"This is a year where more than 240,000 table chairs will be empty in homes across the United States because of the lives taken by COVID-19," he said. Trudi added that the uneasiness a pandemic brings is normal.
"It's okay to not feel okay right now," she said. "But what happens next in our state depends on what happens in our families and in our homes. That's why we implore you: rethink spending time with your people outside of your household on Thanksgiving and the December holidays."
The Governor ended with gratitude to front line essential workers in health care, grocery and other fields. He mentioned that visits through video and Plexiglass are not the same as in-person connection. But "every gathering will risk spreading COVID-19, until the time comes when we have finally wrestled this virus to the ground, which we will accomplish together."
He reminded all that the situation is temporary.
"The Calvary is on the way," he said, referring to medical innovations in the process of clinical trial testing, during the pandemic. "But we need to keep people alive until it gets here -- every idea to learn is on the table, except for the idea of failing to contain this virus that is not an option."
In March, COVID-19 stats were lower than they are now when sheltering orders were handed down. Those orders limited travel and activity to the essential, such as grocery store and pharmacy visits, and medical visits. Essential workers continued to work during the shutdown, including medical professionals, first responders, grocery and food service workers, and journalists.
"In the next few days we will be announcing some further measures to prevent this from spreading," Inslee added. "These decisions will affect what we do outside of the home. But what's most urgent right now tonight is what we do in our own dwelling. Tonight, we have a simple request from our family here. Please do not have Thanksgiving gatherings unless you're positive that everyone there has quarantined successfully for 14 days, which would start today."