Jan 28, 2021
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript January 28
Washington Governor Jay Inslee held a COVID-19 press conference on January 28, 2021. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (03:21)
Ready when you are, Governor.
Jay Inslee: (03:22)
Thank you. All set?
Speaker 1: (03:23)
Jay Inslee: (03:24)
Good afternoon. We’re making some real progress in our fight against COVID-19, we’re going to talk about. So we’ve got some good news today on our path to our economic recovery and opening the state of Washington.
Jay Inslee: (03:36)
I’m pleased to announce that two of our eight regions that we’ve established under our Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery plan are now eligible to enter the next phase, phase two. These regions are the Puget Sound region, that includes Snohomish, King, and Pierce County, and the West region, that includes Grays Harbor, Pacific, Lewis, and Thurston counties. These counties together represent about half of the state’s population and they now may begin to operate in phase two beginning Monday. These regions that we’re moving forward Monday are eligible in phase two because today we’re announcing some relatively simple changes to the Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery plan.
Jay Inslee: (04:29)
The four metrics by which we measure a region’s readiness to move to phase two, those are the case rates, the hospital admissions, the ICU capacity, and the percentage of positive tests. They remain in place, but regions will now only need to meet three of those criteria, those metric, to be able to move forward to phase two. So the criteria for remaining in phase two, or going back to phase one if there’s backsliding, will not change.
Jay Inslee: (05:03)
So good news. Overall, our case trends are declining and our hospital capacity is easing. This is good news. More than half a million Washingtonians have now had their first dose of the vaccine. This is good news. So we are comfortable making these changes and allowing some further reopening as these metrics suggest.
Jay Inslee: (05:29)
We’re also changing the timeframe for studying these metrics to determine when a region moves forward to the next phase. Previously, that was a decision based on a one week’s criteria, now it will be evaluated over a two week’s period to give us a little more stability in the system, a little more predictability. But I remind everyone there’s no application process for this. This is done based on the numbers, the metrics.
Jay Inslee: (05:55)
Now, just to remind folks, when a region moves to phase two, restaurants may have indoor dining up to 25% of capacity, as may indoor fitness centers. In phase two, sports competitions may resume with limited spectators and wedding and funeral ceremonies can increase their capacities above current limits. You can find what phase region you’re in and how your local metrics work or progressing by going to the Department of Health website, doh.wa.gov.
Jay Inslee: (06:27)
By the way, on the competitive and the athletic part, I should clarify that there’s a specific rules for school-based competition. This, what I just talked about, has to do with non-school based competition.
Jay Inslee: (06:41)
So we certainly like our progress we’ve recently made bringing down COVID activity and so these are some promising signs that we’re heading in the right direction. The good news is that the R-naught number, this is the number that the epidemiologists use to determine how many people we infect, we hope now is below one in both eastern and western Washington. But the bad news is that this trend is in a precarious spot. It’s in a high level to start with, so if we relax too much, we could be back in the horrific days of exponential growth. So we’ve got more work to do. We’ve got more diligence we need to show. We’ve got more persistence we need to demonstrate.
Jay Inslee: (07:29)
Here’s another good news. This morning, I went to Clark County and visited one of our new mass vaccination sites at Ridgefield in the county fairgrounds, and I was really impressed by the work that’s going on there. There’s been such a great consortium of multiple organizations. The National Guard, the folks who are doing both vaccinations and logistical work, Safeway, the fairgrounds folks, other local communities are pitching in, UFCW. This is working really well. They’ve already vaccinated in a couple of days 700 people a day. In some of our other sites, they’re up to a thousand a day. All combined, these have done just under 4,000 a day in the last couple of days per day.
Jay Inslee: (08:12)
We’ve also had the National Guard that are doing mobile clinics. So we want to be able to get the people who might have difficulty getting into a site, we go out to them. The National Guard went out to Panorama Point yesterday and did, I think, about 570 vaccinations right where people live, and we intend to continue that.
Jay Inslee: (08:35)
So our vaccination rates are going up dramatically. We are at about 13,000 a day, just a week or 10 days ago. We did just under 40,000 a day this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. So we’re making really rapid progress on our capacity. There’s been now about 545,000 doses that have been administered, and we want to see these trends continued.
Jay Inslee: (08:59)
I want to thank everybody for their diligence in growing this vaccination capacity. Pharmacies are pitching in now. Pharmacies are using their appointment system, which worked well. I just want to thank everybody who has stood up this new capacity.
Jay Inslee: (09:20)
Now, we’ve got to recognize the reality, though. Right now we’ve got a lot more people that would like the vaccine than doses exist to be available. To put this in perspective, we’ve got about 1.7 million Washingtonians who today could be eligible for the vaccine, 1.7 million, but we’re only getting just a bit over 100,000 a day from the federal government. So the limiting factor right now is the amount of doses that we get from the federal government. We really look forward to when those go up. We’re very pleased that President Biden will be ordering hundreds of millions of additional doses that previously were not contracted for, and we’re very happy that our doses have gone up 16%.
Jay Inslee: (10:09)
But if you do the math, a lot of folks will not have access because we’ve got 1.7 million people who need it and we’re only getting 100,000 a week. So we know this, there are days ahead where we’re going to have to grit our teeth and do everything can to accelerate this rate of dosage production.
Jay Inslee: (10:32)
But I know we will get through this. We have sacrificed too much to turn back now. I know something about Washingtonian. Yes, there’s cause for frustration, but I know Washingtonians are strong, resilient, persistent, and we are going to get through this together. While we’re waiting for our turn for these vaccines, the good news is we are not helpless. We are in this battle and we have tools.
Jay Inslee: (11:03)
… news is we are not helpless. We are in this battle and we have tools right now, even if I don’t have the vaccine today to use to protect myself and my family. And that’s a mask, it’s social distancing, it’s being careful. We have these weapons available today and we’re going to bring the big gun, which is the vaccine. But we’ve got to use everything we can. So in the days to come, we’re still going to have to be really careful.
Jay Inslee: (11:29)
And by the way, one of our favorite events of course, the Super Bowl coming up. We really need to be careful during the Super Bowl. We love our Super Bowl parties. But this year I hope people can do it safely, meaning, virtually as much as they can. We will not allow the virus to win the Super Bowl. We ought to win the Super Bowl, which means to keep people from being infected. So I hope people keep that in mind in the next week and a half. And I hope people will keep their eye on the ball to get this vaccine going, in which they are.
Jay Inslee: (12:02)
With that, I have Lacy Fehrenbach and also Nick Streuli of our office, our external affairs person. They’ll stand for questions and I’d be happy to as well.
First question comes from Rachel with AP.
Governor, I’m hearing from people who have gotten their first dose of the vaccine but were told they couldn’t make an appointment for their second dose. And they’re running into numerous roadblocks trying to ensure they can get an appointment somewhere that offers a vaccine from the same manufacturer. So what’s being done to ensure people are able to get that second dose within the established timeframe?
Jay Inslee: (12:40)
Lacy, do you want to talk about that? Or Nick? One or both?
Lacy Fehrenbach: (12:47)
Thanks for the question, Rachel. So we are working here at the Department of Health with our providers to make the consumer customer experience for vaccines, a more seamless customer friendly process. That includes getting your first dose, and there is a lot of effort and energy around getting the many people eligible in 1B1 their first dose of vaccine, as well as their second dose.
Lacy Fehrenbach: (13:14)
Some providers are able to book their appointments several weeks out, others do it closer to the date. And so, that could be through a recall system where they will send you a text or email. It could be also through the Phase Finder system or otherwise. So, we encourage whether you are working on your first dose or second dose, please, please be patient. We know that Washingtonians are eager to get vaccinated. We want people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. With the supply chain limited, the providers and we are facing these challenges with overwhelm of registration systems compared to the supply of vaccine that is coming in. And so it’s taking some extra tries, both on the provider part and on the public’s part.
Nick Streuli: (14:07)
If I could just add briefly to what Lacy mentioned, which I think is spot on and the governor’s remarks as well. A lot of the experience about booking your second dose appointment is going to be dependent on the provider that you chose for your first dose. So a lot of our vaccine administrators do schedule people’s second dose appointments at the very same time that they schedule their first dose appointment. So a lot of that is going to be left up to the individual provider that someone has selected for their vaccine.
Jay Inslee: (14:37)
I might add that we hope this will improve in the upcoming weeks, because the Biden administration has told us that we have doses now for three weeks. This is really important, because up till now we have not been able to give people predictability more than just a few days ahead of time as to what doses would be coming into the providers. So with this increased level of predictability, we hope that this will allow providers to be a little more confident in their scheduling moving forward.
Next question comes from Joe with the Seattle Times.
Governor, two-part question. I think this is a two phase plan, and we’re mostly talking about counties moving the state to Phase 2 the regions. Do you envision this being the framework the then through the spring here? Or do you have a sense that if public health metrics improve and vaccinations go up in the next few months that you might be able to add looser restrictions or create a new framework?
The second question is, we’ve had serious delays with some of your agencies on public records requests, including the employment [inaudible 00:15:39] and the Health Department. These are public agencies, decisions affect people in real time, but disclosure of calendars and emails is often being delayed by months and months. Are you okay with that situation? And if not, what do you intend to do about beefing up their abilities to speed up public disclosure?
Jay Inslee: (15:55)
Well, as you know, we’re really committed to transparency and this is important in our administration. I just heard about this frustration actually a couple hours ago, and I will look into it. We would want to find a way to give your organization, all organizations, as much information as we can in a timely basis. I am going to look into this. We don’t want people to wait on months in these emergency situations. So I hope we can discuss improvements with you in the near future.
Jay Inslee: (16:24)
Fortunately, I don’t think my office, the Governor’s Office has had that difficulty. But we want all our agencies to be successful. So we’ll have some more discussion with you about that. We want you to have information on a timely basis. The probabilities going forward in the spring, anything is possible. We can have an extraordinary run of good fortune and the numbers continue to go down and the vaccine production goes up dramatically, and we accelerate our reopening.
Jay Inslee: (16:58)
It’s also possible that we remain in status quo and it’s also possible that things go backwards. So the best way I can answer is, we hope we catch a break from mother nature. We hope that the production of vaccines will improve dramatically. We hope that people will be careful, as I’ve talked about Super Bowl parties and otherwise, and hopefully those things are going to work out.
Next question comes from Drew with KING5.
Good afternoon, Governor. While this is some good news for a lot of folks, people particularly on the East side of the state and the Southwest part of the state now have to wait at least two weeks before moving up. Why not go week to week? Why make folks wait at least another two weeks before they could potentially move to Phase 2?
Jay Inslee: (17:49)
Well, so we can give them more predictability and even things out. It goes both ways too, right? So if you have a bad week and if we just have a week’s of evaluation, that means you might have to go backwards just because of one bad week. So this works both ways. We thought a two week period is more realistic to give people a more stable way to look at what real trends are occurring.
Jay Inslee: (18:15)
The issue of where these areas opened up. Look, it was just the numbers. The numbers tell the tale. We have set the metrics and the numbers have differentiated from region to region. So this is a bit on automatic pilot. The numbers will make a decision. Essentially, we will not. We obviously hope everybody can progress.
The next question comes from Sarah with McClatchy.
My question is about the data on the Roadmap to Recovery Dashboard. If you look at it right now, it has data updated as of January 22nd and a couple of those metrics only include data complete through January 2nd or January 9th. Can you just provide an explanation for how these decisions are made on a weekly or now bi-weekly basis when the data is lacking to that extent? And if there are any efforts to get that complete data sooner?
Jay Inslee: (19:05)
Well, I can tell you we’re going to make decisions on the best data we have, and the most recent data we have. We can’t do anything other than that. Lacy, you want to talk about any changes in our data system?
Lacy Fehrenbach: (19:20)
Sure. And one thing I want to clarify is that the public facing dashboard is going to be updated while we’re on this press conference, probably around 3:00. The Governor did show the slide that shows what will get posted at that time. So what, what the reporter just mentioned, our metrics that were completed for last week, there is variability in the timeframes and the completeness of data.
Lacy Fehrenbach: (19:47)
It’s really important on each of these metrics that we’re measuring either the 7 day or 14 day period that is most recent or the specific metric. These metrics come from different data sources and systems, and those systems have different degrees of timeliness and that results in different timeframes. Our goal here is always to be using the data that are the most complete and recent for each of the four metrics.
Next question comes from Keith with KOMO 4.
It’s hard to tell from looking at the graphic there, but how close are the other regions because they’re going to be jealous [inaudible 00:20:31] How close are they, say in two weeks, to be able to open and join the West of Puget Sound regions?
Jay Inslee: (20:40)
Well, you can look at the chart that we had up that shows where they stand as far as numbers. I think there’s one or two that are fairly close and others got some work to do. I don’t know how to characterize it. But as far as… Look jealousy, the numbers make this decision. We don’t. And so if regions improve and their numbers improve, they move forward. So, this is really determined by the citizens of these regions of what they decided to do and how much they decide to be diligent and how much they decide not to have people over for dinner and infect them, and don’t have big Super Bowl parties.
Jay Inslee: (21:18)
It’s really kind of determined to some degree by the citizens of the regions. They have control over this. Now the virus plays a role as well, too, and the environment. But it’s kind of up to us at this point on how much progress we show.
We are having technical difficulties. [inaudible 00:21:42] No. Next question comes from Kellee with KATU.
Hi Governor. Hopefully you can hear me? You know, this is going to kind of circle back to Keith’s question a little bit on the counties that cannot do any sort of reopening or making it into Phase 2 at this point-
… can not do any sort of reopening or making it into phase two at this point. Down here in Clark County, I know that we’re one of them, but we’re not there yet. But you said it’s up to the numbers, but also these decisions and restrictions have been made by you and the governor’s office. There are businesses down here who say they are suffering and they can’t sustain this way. Though, especially in restaurants, spread is minimal. What do you say to them who are still being kept from reopening any sort of capacity because of the numbers?
Jay Inslee: (22:32)
I’m saying that what we have in Washington State has worked and is working. The kind of decisions that we have made today have been proven by the evidence to be well justified, both by science and experience. The kind of decisions we have made, difficult as they are, have saved thousands of lives. And what I say is if we had not done the kind of things we have done, we may have had another seven or 8,000 dead people in the state of Washington. And I stand by those decisions. I think saving seven and 8,000 people is well worth our efforts in the state of Washington is what I say.
Jay Inslee: (23:11)
I also say that the difficulty of restaurant owners and gym owners has been profound and the losses that they’ve suffered, the anxiety they’ve had is something I feel every day and they’re real, and we ought to respect and care for them. That’s why I freed up over a hundred million dollars to date to help them. And I’m confident the legislature will do millions of dollars more to assist these business people who have struggled because of the COVID pandemic. And what I would also say that with these new metrics we have expanded dramatically, we have now allowed half the state to move forward. It is a significant event.
Jay Inslee: (23:51)
So we’ll watch your headlines to decide whether you’re a glass half full or a glass, half empty but we think this is a really good day in the state of Washington moving forward in our state.
Speaker 2: (24:04)
Next question comes from Jerry with the Everett Herald. Jerry, are you with us?
Jay Inslee: (24:20)
By the way, the numbers that I just cited to you, they don’t come from me, they come from objective sources. The New York Times did a study that concluded that if other states had been as successful as the state of Washington, if they had done the things that we have done, painful as they are by restricting some of our activities, that about 220,000 people wouldn’t have died nationwide. We are the fifth lowest infection rate at least last time I checked. Infection rate in the United States. We are a state, a national leader in the effort against COVID. And when you’re the national leader, I think that’s something we should take pride in.
Speaker 2: (25:01)
We’ll move on to Laurel with the [inaudible 00:25:04] Interview.
Hi governor. I have two questions. So in the past, when we’ve opened up, we’ve seen an increase in cases and hospitalizations. So I guess I’m wondering what exactly is different now. I know you mentioned vaccination, but a lot of the people who will likely be out such as essential workers or young people haven’t been vaccinated yet. I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit about that. And then secondly, I just want to clarify, will the metrics still be updated every Friday and then just evaluated every other week? Or will they not even be updated every other week?
Jay Inslee: (25:38)
Well, we will continue to evaluate them. Lisa, do you want to explain that process?
Lacy Fehrenbach: (25:45)
The metrics will be posted every two weeks. The other question, so yes, with increased mobility and people being out, it will be ever more important that we do the things that we know work to control the spread of COVID-19. Vaccines are an incredible life-saving tool and can help us slow the spread. Every person who’s vaccinated, that is one less person susceptible. However, all of the rest of us have to really double down on wearing our masks, especially when we’re indoors, but wearing our mask anytime we’re around anyone from outside our household, washing our hands, watching our distance, and waiting for those gatherings. If we want to keep going forward on this journey to reopening our economy, we all have to work together to slow the spread of COVID. We too very much want to go forward, to answer one of the questions earlier, but it’s going to take us all doing our part to keep the disease levels down.
Jay Inslee: (26:54)
Yeah. If I may add in too, it’s really important. Even after we have been vaccinated, it is important to continue to wear masks in part to prevent transmissions. The science is not clear yet that having the vaccine actually prevents us from transmitting the disease. So even though we get a vaccine, we still have to be careful about how we act around our families and everyone else. And it still means we need to mask up because we cannot be confident that the vaccine, it may save our life with 95% efficacy, which is an extraordinary miracle to have 90% efficacy to protect me when I get a vaccine. But the science is not clear yet that it prevents me from transmitting the disease. So all of us have to remain diligent.
Jay Inslee: (27:48)
And the presence of the vaccine is a significant reason that we have taken this step today because 89% of the fatalities are amongst the group that we are now vaccinating. So we’ve got a tremendous tool to wrap our protective arms around the people who otherwise could lose their lives. And that has enabled us to some degree to take this step, but we obviously have more work to do.
Jay Inslee: (28:16)
And I kind of look at it like this. Look, we got into a lifeboat a year ago. We all got in the same lifeboat and we’ve been rolling really, really hard under a hot sun. And like, you see the island, that’s your salvation. We’re getting closer to it. But I would say we got a roll harder now, not easier because there’s a temptation to give up when you get close, but we got a roll harder now and to make sure that we get there together.
Speaker 2: (28:48)
Next question comes from Simone from Q13.
Thank you, governor. You talk a lot about right now, the numbers now being on autopilot when it comes to reopening and whether the regions can make those metrics or not, but it wasn’t autopilot because you had to determine that we were meeting three instead of four metrics at this point. Otherwise, it looks like none of the regions were going to be able to move forward for the fourth week. So I wanted to ask what went into this decision of yours to change the metrics, to allow for more reopening. Was it simply that no one could make it to phase two or did Senate bill 5114 have anything to do with about it? Thank you.
Jay Inslee: (29:31)
Well, several things. Number one, we have the vaccine, which is now available. We’ve administered what, 535,000 doses. And we’re well on our way. We’ve doubled our vaccination rate in the last week to 10 day., The administration is going to be sending us more doses. So that is a very significant part of our thinking that we’re approaching a way to really save the most vulnerable amongst us in the next couple of months.
Jay Inslee: (29:59)
Number two, we have had a quite significant drop in the cases, in hospitalizations. And if you look, could you put the curve up again, please? If I can look at the epidemiological curve. If you look on the right side of the graph, it is quite a pronounced reduction that we are now enjoying. And that’s significant in our thinking. And when we did this, we did this with the hope that this is going to continue so that more regions can get into phase two, but we also built in a fail safe mechanism in that if those numbers start to go up over a two week period, either on any two of the measures, that region have to go back in the phase one. So we built in a fail safe mechanism if these trends essentially were to start to reverse themselves. And that is important, we are aware of the variants that are out there that do cause us concern. And that’s one of the reasons we built this safety barrier in there.
Jay Inslee: (31:01)
And the third reason is, look, we are very empathetic with the businesses that are struggling right now, and that is something we’ve always thought about. And we think this was the right moment to take this step.
Speaker 2: (31:14)
Next question comes from Nicole with KIRO Radio.
Hi governor. I’m wondering with the departure of ESD commissioner, Suzi LeVine, and now with this unemployment bill passing the Senate, but getting criticism for not requiring ESD to pay people faster, to respond to people’s calls faster. We’re hearing from people with Working Washington, especially who are very concerned that workers are still not getting help. And right now the unemployment dashboard is down. But at last count there were almost 40,000 people who were still waiting and I’ve heard from many people who have been waiting for almost a year now since last March how are you going to ensure that people will get paid faster, especially now that there will be no employment security commissioner?
Jay Inslee: (32:02)
Cami is our interim director. I’ve spoken to her. We are continuing to build capacity into this system and that effort is going to continue. And we are still peddling as fast as possible to build the capacity of the system to adjudicate these cases. Now, some of those folks that have been waiting will ultimately not be eligible because for one reason or another, they were not eligible. And many of those cases are adjudication process that is quite complex at the moment, but we want to finish that adjudication as fast as humanly possible. In order to do that, the department is using new technology, training new people, building new capacity. And we are going to continue in that effort because those folks who are waiting, it’s terrible anxiety and frustration to wait during that length of time. So that effort will not be retarded at all by a change of leadership at the department. I’m very confident of that. And as time goes on, we’ll share with you some of that additional capacity…
Jay Inslee: (33:03)
And as time goes on, we’ll share with you some of that additional capacity, building activity.
Speaker 3: (33:08)
Next question comes from Carolyn.
Jay Inslee: (33:09)
If I may just, I know people are frustrated by this situation. One would think that we just had a one-time event and that we should have just got over it by now. This is not a one-time event. We continue to have, in a sense, at least the same level of challenge for the department, or increasing amounts of challenge, because we have different people coming into the system. So it’s not like there was just one load that the department had to lift. It is a continual load and that’s why we need to continue to build more capacity.
Speaker 3: (33:40)
Next up is Carolyn with the South Seattle Emerald.
Hi. Yes. So as you already mentioned and as I think I mentioned my question to you a couple of days ago, [inaudible 00:33:55] potentially deadly variants of virus, that’s expected to become the dominant version of the virus in the entire US by March, which means it’s going to overtake the original virus that’s been circulating for a year. And there are two more variants that appear to be of concern, one of which appears to be able to avoid antibodies and the other of which appears to have a general resistance of the vaccine.
If you want to save lives, why would you risk opening up even more when the future is so uncertain? Why not continue to financially assist struggling business people rather than risking more deaths?
Jay Inslee: (34:27)
Well, we believe that you have to make a decision based on science, reason, and we’re bringing both of those to the table. And when we have a life ring to wrap around nine out of 10 Washingtonians, in the next couple of months, which we have, which is the vaccine, we believe this is a reasonable step.
Jay Inslee: (34:48)
Now let me share with you what I mean by that. About nine out of 10 of the people who would be, who might lose their life because of this variant or the old fashion COVID, we now have the ability to protect nine out of 10. These are people over the age of 65, and we today have a 95% effective way to save their lives.
Jay Inslee: (35:11)
So when you talk about fatalities, we have a way to save these people, in the next couple of months. And when we’ve looked at the potential rate of increase, we believe, we hope and there’s a reason to believe, we’re going to get those people vaccinated before this variant becomes dominant and before it would cause exponential growth. That is a reasonable prediction. It is not a certainty, but it is a reasonable way to think about this.
Jay Inslee: (35:40)
We’ve talked to the Institute for Disease Modeling just a couple of days ago about this, comparing our situation to where the variant has been in various other countries. So we’ve looked at this very carefully, to look at the time where we can get people vaccinated who might die, compared to when these variants could get here. And we’re hopeful. Now, here’s the other thing. If these variants get here big time, and we start experiencing exponential growth, with the safety we brought into the system, we’ll go back into a safer zone in a heartbeat. So we have built in a way to cushion against that potential eventuality. That’s the reason we’re doing it.
Speaker 3: (36:25)
We have time for two more questions. Next question comes from Casey with KREM.
Right. So first we had a Safe Start Washington, then that was scrapped for this Roadmap to Recovery and it’s been, what about a month of that plan? And that’s already being modified here. So I guess my question is why should people trust that this plan, this time, is really the right plan, the best plan?
Jay Inslee: (36:50)
The plan today that we can do with the best science and data we have, it’s based on real science. It’s based on real experience. It’s based on a rational prediction of where we are with potential future activity and it is the best plan that we can fashion to fit the current circumstances and the needs of Washingtonians. That’s what I can tell you. Could it, is it fixed in absolute stone? Of course not. We’ve got to be willing to be flexible if there’s giant changes in our circumstance.
Jay Inslee: (37:20)
But one of the things that I think is good about this plan is that it builds in that flexibility. This can go up, if things get better. It can go backwards if things get worse. And it’s pretty… It’s pretty acutely sensitive to changes in those infection rates with scientifically valid data. So I think they should be confident that this has happened because we do follow the data and maybe, just maybe, we should have a little confidence in our state.
Jay Inslee: (37:54)
As I’ve said, we’re better than 45 other states. Maybe that should give us a little confidence that we’re making good decisions. I don’t think it’s an accident that we’ve saved several thousand lives in our state. It’s because we’ve made good decisions. And when I say me, we, I mean, we. It means Washingtonians who’ve been wearing masks. Washingtonians who’ve been compliant with some of our very difficult business closure rules. Washingtonians who’ve been innovative in schools on how to go back to school safely. This credit goes to Washingtonians.
Speaker 3: (38:26)
Final question we’re going to go back and try Jerry with the Everett Herald again.
Thank you for coming back. Sorry about the technology issues, governor. The plan has two phases and when you introduced it, you said there’ll be more phases and now that half the population is in phase two, I believe in two weeks they could be eligible for phase three. So what will be in phase three? And when will we see it?
Jay Inslee: (38:51)
I can’t tell you a date on that. We’ve not thought through that, so I don’t have a on that date. It’ll be the right moment. It’s the best I can tell you at the moment.
Jay Inslee: (39:04)
We’re peddling pretty fast here right now. We just stood up for mass vaccination sites, that in a matter of days are now vaccinating almost 4,000 Washingtonians a day and we’ve got new, hundreds of pharmacies in the game that we have organized. We have mobilization sites that are now mobile units with the National Guard. There’s a lot of things going on in the state of Washington and we’re focusing on that work right now.
Speaker 3: (39:34)
Any final words, governor?
Jay Inslee: (39:35)
I want to thank everyone. Again, huge thank you to everybody who’s helping on this; the National Guard. Look, the National Guard is… The Washington National Guard has rescued the nation’s Capitol. It’s protected the Olympia Capitol. It’s in multiple sites now saving lives, vaccinating people. Boy, are we lucky? And we’re lucky to have a vaccine and we’re real lucky to have strong people in our state that are going to get through this by recognizing that we’re doing all we can, to get them this vaccine as rapidly as possible. And with that type of courage and strength and a good vaccine, I’m confident we’re going to get through this. Thanks a lot. Be safe.