Mar 26, 2020
Washington Governor Jay Inslee Coronavirus Press Briefing Transcript March 26
Jay Inslee: (00:00)
I hope we can keep in mind all of the people who are protecting us around the state. We appreciate their heroism and we hope to match it with our commitment to stay home and stay healthy. As of midnight 11 hours ago, our Stay Home, Stay Healthy order has completely gone into effect and we are convinced that over the next two weeks it will aid us tremendously in lowering the trajectory of the Covid-19 infection rate in our state. With more than 4 million registered businesses in our state and even more workers in various industries, my office and cabinet agencies have received many requests for guidance from people and businesses that want to be in compliance with this order. And I am very pleased at the response so far that people very much want to be part of Team Washington in this Stay Home, Stay Healthy mission. We really appreciate that.
Jay Inslee: (01:00)
If people do have questions, we direct it to coronavirus.wa.gov, that’s coronavirus.wa.gov, and it is both my intention and direction to state agencies to be helpful and patient with anyone who is trying to comply with this order. My office and other agencies, as well as stakeholders, are partnering with and want to make sure that we clearly communicate with all Washingtonians in this regard. And as I’ve said, so far, we have seen overwhelming compliance and that is to be expected, I think, because Washingtonians know what it is to work together, we know what it is to overcome challenges, and we know what it is to take a little hardship for gain over the long run.
Jay Inslee: (01:54)
There are also some exceptions to our orders that will help people stay connected, and staying connected is important. For example, religious institutions can have, under our order, a certain number of people present at the places of worship to ensure that online, remote services can be afforded to their flocks.
Jay Inslee: (02:20)
Anxiety in our state is understandably high right now, but I do want to reiterate, we may be hunkered down, but we are not locked down. You can leave your house for a walk, you can go for a drive, you can do things essential to your livelihood for these essential industries. We do want you to limit those activities in ways that make common sense, however, and it’s probably not a good time to be driving across the state of Washington, it’s time to hunker down closer in our neighborhoods.
Jay Inslee: (02:56)
But there is urgency in this effort. We are fighting the same pandemic in every corner of our state, but it’s being felt in different ways. I’ve heard questions from some residents in communities that are not in King, Snohomish, or Pierce County, those are the States that have been hit the first with this virus, and so many folk think that action is not necessary outside of those counties, but the unfortunate reality is that today this virus is spreading across the entire state of Washington and its method of transmission is simple, it is person-to-person, and whatever we are seeing in Seattle today could be in Walla Walla fairly shortly, in Port Angeles, and Centralia. And so it is very clear that all of us really need to bend our shoulders to this task to save the entire state of Washington.
Jay Inslee: (03:59)
The virus is devastation in some parts of our state, it is the kind we’re desperately trying to halt in the rest of the state. So it is crucial that each and every one of us, across the state, maintain the social distancing that we know is our only weapon against this scourge.
Jay Inslee: (04:18)
We are only in the first two weeks, and people need to understand this, this order may need to be extended. And the reason is, is we simply cannot allow this virus to be slowed, but then spring back upon us. We’ve got to pound it and we’ve got to pound it until it’s done. And I’m glad that Washingtonians are pitching into what is really a warfare against a fatal disease in our state. So this is a pause that will allow us to evaluate the progress that we are making to then determine next steps.
Jay Inslee: (04:56)
Now, we do believe we are seeing some encouraging signs in the Puget Sound area, including progress on support of those experiencing homelessness. The FEMA Region 10 administrator has told me that additional facilities, by in the way of field hospitals are on the way for boosting our hospital capacity as the number of patients in our system increases. Brigadier General Peter Helmlinger of the Army Corps of Engineer has told me that they were now looking at sites in the state to add additional hospital surge capacity. So we are appreciative for this federal medical assistance because it is necessary to prevent our healthcare system and our workers from being even more overwhelmed.
Jay Inslee: (05:46)
We also have, fairly shortly, we hope in days, 146-bed hospital, field hospital coming, I believe from Colorado, from the U.S. Army, for which we are appreciative. And that is not the end of our surge capacity, as you know, Dr. Raquel Bono is now coordinating our surge efforts with private hospitals as well and I think that is now a well-coordinated effort.
Jay Inslee: (06:15)
We’ve ended elected surgeries to free up capacity and we are now looking through the entire system for our medical equipment so that it can be distributed and given a priority where it is most effective. We’ve conducted more than 31,000 tests in our state, but we have very significant unmet needs and testing and that is why it is so important for the federal government to increase its support for testing materials.
Jay Inslee: (06:46)
I spoke to the President and the Vice President about this issue this morning and so we need to continue some efforts, dramatic efforts, to increase testing capability. We have received significant shipments of personal protective equipment for health workers from the federal government and we are appreciative of that. I appreciate the federal government’s efforts on many fronts in this regard. However, I do have profound long-term concerns about being able to procure these necessities. The state has been purchasing additional equipment from private vendors and we have received donations, and thanks to everybody for that.
Jay Inslee: (07:33)
We already cannot meet the demands coming in from around the state, however, for these critical supplies. Our state Department of Health, just to give you a feeling of how we’re trying to solve these problems in real-time, last night had an employee drive across the state of Washington, from shoreline to Spokane, to pick up the vials that are needed to take the samples to send to the testing labs to deliver them to Yakima last night that had a critical demand, and I think this just illustrates the critical shortage we need and we need the full energy of the manufacturing capacity of the United States of America to become engaged, to manufacture these supplies and we need a national system of procurement, that is the only way that we are going to get our national manufacturing base fully engaged in supplying what our local communities need and it is the only way that we will be able to set priorities about where these crucial supplies can be achieved.
Jay Inslee: (08:41)
Today, we are in a mad scramble, frankly, with 50 States competing against one another for crucial supplies. I’ve been talking to people with connections, myself, in China looking for their supplies and I know governors have been in the same position. So we need additional federal help and we need a federal system to be able to be effective in this regard just like we used in World War II, and I would note that in World War II, the battleship, The Missouri, that we had for years in Puget Sound, was not built by the state of Missouri and that’s the approach we need to take for the federal government to become totally engaged.
Jay Inslee: (09:25)
Now, I do have some hopeful news. We know that this is still a dire challenge, we know this a fateful disease, we know that we have not turned the corner and we are not even close to the end of this battle, but we do think there’s some evidence that our community mitigation strategies, the things we’ve done already to close schools, to close restaurants and theaters, to prohibit gatherings, we think these things have been able to slow the rate of increase in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties.
Jay Inslee: (10:07)
And if you’ll look on your screen, I’d like to make a reference to this graph. If you look on the graph you’re seeing, there’s a blue line that basically tails off and down towards the end of the blue line, and this graph demonstrates the number of diagnosed infections over the last couple of weeks from an equivalent start date for wherever a particular state had a certain number of infections, 20 infections. So this basically puts all the states on the same starting point when they had 20 infections and then it totals the number as it goes forward.
Jay Inslee: (10:58)
So what you’re seeing is that our line has gone up, bad news, and fatalities have continued to increase, but if you’ll look at the line, it has some slight reduction in the rate of its acceleration, the curve, the level of curve, and we’ve all heard about turning down the curve. This graph shows a very slight lessening of the rate of increase by looking at its curve. It’s a small reduction of the rate of increase, but it is a glimmer of hope. And the reason it’s a glimmer of hope is that this is suggestive that some of the things we’re doing together is having some very modest improvement, and that ought to give us an additional commitment to the things we’re doing today because the things we did two weeks ago are now appearing in our hospitals and we want to continue that.
Jay Inslee: (12:03)
In our hospitals, and we want to continue that effort as well. Now I want to reiterate something about this graph. Do we still have the graph up? Yeah, we still have. I hope the graph is on the screen. Thank you. We need to understand this. This is very important. We cannot let up on this virus. Even if we get to a point where there’s continuation of reducing the rate of increase and we eventually want to see these numbers start to drop down on a weekly basis. But the fact is we have to hammer this until we can be assured that it will not spring back up.
Jay Inslee: (12:44)
And so we will not be able to be confident that we can release some of our joint efforts in the state until we’re very confident of that because it will not be successful to have success these first two weeks and then give up with all of our efforts and have this thing spring back on us. We need our economy to come back as fast as possible. And the way to do this is to eliminate this virus in our state. So there’s more work to be done and we need testing, pervasive testing, before we’ll be able really to return to normalcy in our state.
Jay Inslee: (13:24)
So our economic response moves on as well. This morning the Department of Commerce announced $ 1.8 million in grants to rural Washington counties for a COVID-19 response. We are allowing retail stores to sell goods online and mailed to customers. And I want to reiterate, they need to be mailed or somehow delivered in a remote fashion. We just can’t have people crowding around the doors of our retail outlets right now. This week I also authorized extended notary services and waived late penalties on tax payments from businesses to the liquor and cannabis board. And last night the Congress passed a stimulus bill that will provide critically needed support to workers, families, businesses, and hospitals across Washington. I want to thank the Congress for acting on this and I want to thank the President and Vice President of being open to our communications as we have gone through this. We appreciate the opportunity to talk to both him and the vice president. Here’s why the stimulus is so important. We’ve seen an 843% increase in new unemployment claims in just the last week. Two weeks ago, the state received 6,000 unemployment claims. This week alone we have received 133,000 claims. New claims are five times faster coming in than they were at anytime during the last great recession. So we have seen nothing like this in our state’s history and as a result, our Employment Security Department is bringing on hundreds of staff to meet the public’s needs.
Jay Inslee: (15:08)
Now we also want to thank the Congress in this stimulus bill. It has significantly expanded both access and the amount of unemployment insurance people will get, both to expand the number of people who are eligible so that part-time workers will now be eligible even though they don’t have 680 hours. Some folks in the gig economy will be eligible and the amount of the checks will also increase and we think that this will be helpful. I want to remind folks that we are moving forward with a plan to make sure that older workers over 60 and those with health problems, even if they’re in an essential business, if they feel for their health that they should stay home, they will have access to these benefits. That’s a very important point. We’re still trying to determine whether I can do that through executive action or whether I’d have to call back the legislature to get that done statutorily.
Jay Inslee: (16:12)
I want to reiterate that our employees are going to be working really hard on this. I wish we could all tell people that checks could go out at noon today on that, but I think people realize it’s going to be some period of time till we can get this system up and running for this huge expansion of needed help for people. So we have a lot of work to do in this regard.
Jay Inslee: (16:34)
Our COVID-19 cases continue to rise. As of Wednesday afternoon our state has 2,580 diagnosed cases and 132 deaths. Of those who have died, more than 90% were above the age of 60, half of those Washington’s were over the age of 80. And I want to just take a moment to, again ask all of us to wrap all our loved ones in our arms, but a special huge embrace to those over the age of 60, to those who have some underlying healthcare concerns. If you’re a 25 year old today, I think the single most important thing you can do in your life is to call your parents and grandparents and make sure they’re not going out, make sure they’re not bringing the grandkids in to wrestle with and make sure that every morning they wake up and figure out how they’re going to enjoy their life at home.
Jay Inslee: (17:39)
I think that’s the most important thing we can all do right now, because these are the Washingtonians who are most at risk. Now we are having fatalities of younger people and that’s why younger people for their own protection have to follow this social distancing as well. But this is a moment to care for our elders, I cannot overstate that. Now we want to get back to life as we’ve been used to and economy as we used to and the faster we all turn to this right now in the next two weeks, the faster we’re going to get to those bright days and I’m confident that we can do that. I just want to note the other thing I feel good about is how people are realizing that, while we have to be physically unconnected, Washingtonians are understanding the importance to be emotionally connected and I’m just hearing so many stories of families and friends who are really having great relationships electronically and I know we have to be creative but we know that can work.
Jay Inslee: (18:42)
I just want to put up on the screen, I’ve got a screenshot of a FaceTime meeting that our four generations had yesterday. You see in the left hand corner, that’s the newest Inslee, Annie Hazel Inslee. And in the middle is Trudy Inslee. That’s Annie’s grandmother. To her right is Trudy’s mother, Trudy Tindall, who is 102 years young, and you can see the great time she’s having with new technology and her comment about that FaceTime was, “Wow, this is so great that people invent new technologies.” She had a good time. Above her shoulder is Bonnie, she’s in Wenatchee, Bonnie Tindall, her daughter. And up in the right hand corner are three Rascals in Kitsap County, our grandkids. And I hope that this is being replicated so we can all be enjoying each other’s company and I know people are doing that. I’m loving to see and hear Washingtonians playing on the ukuleles and all the creative artwork they’re doing. And this is a time we can be together and I know we are. So with that I’m happy to stand for your questions.
Jay Inslee: (19:53)
Oh, one more thing I want to add, if I can? Emily, was that okay with you? I do want to add one other thing. We are going to need significant additional medical personnel as this wave increases and I am hopeful that retired nurses, retired physicians, people right out of these schools, might consider coming back into practice and we have cleared the decks to get those licenses restored on a very quick basis. So if you’re retired general practitioners and you’re willing to come in and help out for a few weeks, we hope you’ll consider that. Physician’s assistants, phlebotomist’s, nurses. Boy, I think like Uncle Sam, we want you and we hope you’ll consider coming back into the practice, even for a period of time. This could make all the difference in the world. If you are interested in that, if you can go to coronavirus.wa.gov and let us know of your interest. This minute man, minute woman sort of medical militia could really do great things for our state so I hope anybody out there could consider that. That would be great. So with that I’ll stand for questions.
Speaker 1: (21:09)
Okay. We’ll go first to Rachel with AP News.
Governor, the call today between governors and President Trump, did you have any specific suggestions of certain [inaudible 00:21:22] President?
Jay Inslee: (21:22)
Yes. And I’m not going to relate the specifics of that call, we want to continue to have an open line of communication with The White House. So yes, I did make a recommendation and it would shock you to some degree that it was along the lines of what I’ve expressed, that I think it would be very, very helpful if the federal government could be more assertive and aggressive and more organized in helping all of us to obtain these systems.
Jay Inslee: (21:54)
And I do think that there is a unique position in the United States. It’s the presidency and Americans really respond to that. We’ve seen that a lot of times in American history and I think if the White House calls manufacturers across the country, all of them to spring to this… To come to some relationship with the federal government where we then could make good priorities of where these assets go and drive the hardest bargain with these sellers, it won’t surprise you that the sellers are trying to get some pretty outrageous prices right now and if the federal government can become the buyer, they got a lot better bargaining power than just the state of Washington. So I’m not going to relay the specifics of that call, but I’m hopeful that this can be considered and I know that there are other governors who share this view.
Speaker 1: (22:51)
Now I’m going to go to Daniel at the Seattle times.
Thanks. You showed the graph showing that the rate of cases might be decreasing, but where are we on the curve of actual cases, rather than the rate? Are we getting close to the peak, do you know that? And how does that relate to-
Speaker 1: (23:19)
Can you put it up Sam?
… our hospital system?
Jay Inslee: (23:24)
Yes. By the way, before I forget, I want to mention a couple things. I thanked the President and the Vice President today too. I want people to know that there is good communication going on with the White House. We are making suggestions, but I’m appreciative of that communication. Looking at this graph… I’m going to answer your question, but just a moment, I don’t want to forget this. This graph shows the statewide numbers on a logarithmic scale, which is a statistical term to show the change in the rate of increase. It does not show what is going on in certain parts of the state, and this is of great concern because-
Jay Inslee: (24:03)
Parts of the state and this is of great concern because while we’ve been able to lower the curve just a little bit in the Central Puget SoundCorps, we are not lowering it in other areas in the state of Washington. This is the average across the whole state. It might give you a false sense of security to look at it because in many areas of the state, we’re not bending the curve.
Jay Inslee: (24:26)
Those communities are looking for a wave of fatalities in their communities if we are not successful for doing that. That is why this statewide stay healthy or stay home, stay healthy is so critical across the state of Washington. Now, what this shows and I could spend about 15 minutes explaining what logarithmic means, but basically, it’s a way of expressing the rate of change in any phenomenon.
Jay Inslee: (24:53)
You’re seeing that it looks like we’ve had a very modest reduction in the rate of change, but it is not sufficient if we do not continue to bend that curve down. I just want to make that the strongest statement for people to understand. We shouldn’t be within 10,000 miles of champagne corks on this because if we do not continue to increase this, a lot of people are going to die across the state of Washington. Perhaps hundreds, even more.
Jay Inslee: (25:21)
Two things I take from this chart. One, we have a long ways to go. Two, we are being smart and strategic in our state. It does have the capability of helping us dramatically. Those are two things that we got to keep in mind simultaneously. Does that answer your question? Is there anything else I could include?
Speaker 2: (25:47)
I’m wondering how this relates to the capacity of the hospital system. There have been warnings about the hospital system being overwhelmed. Are we close to that point? Are there still not enough beds?
Jay Inslee: (26:03)
The good news is our system is not overwhelmed today. However, it is absolutely necessary that we dramatically increase our hospital capacity or we will be overwhelmed if we don’t get this curve down to negative very, very quickly. Just to have some scale. Now, don’t hold me too much to these numbers. To give you some scale of this challenge, about 10 days ago, we looked at our capacity that might be about 10,000 beds.
Jay Inslee: (26:34)
If this curve was not dramatically decreased, we could have a need for 5,000 beds in the next week or two. This is a huge challenge for us to be able to surge that capacity. Even more daunting, many, if not most of the endangered citizens need ICU care, which is obviously another kettle of fish and the type instruments we need and equipment we need in these beds. It is crucial that we get the federal army help. There is one other thing.
Jay Inslee: (27:08)
I’m not sure I mentioned that we’ve talked to Region 10 of FEMA. They have assured us that on top of the army facilities I referred to, that they are going to be sending us two field hospitals as well. We do not have the date for their arrival, but it is critical that we have those hospital. Now, we also have a statewide effort to increase our capacity in existing hospitals.
Jay Inslee: (27:34)
Dr. Bono is now working with all of the hospitals to determine how they can increase both their bed capacity, which is critical in their existing buildings, but also bring in the personnel that is necessary to actually care for those patients and get access to this equipment. This is why getting additional vent ventilator capacity is so important. We’ve had some help from the federal government.
Jay Inslee: (27:58)
We think we have a commitment of several hundred ventilators but we need more than that. That’s why we are searching the globe for additional ventilators literally as we speak. Just to let you know how I am concerned about this, I’ve talked to a local businessman in my neighborhood with extensive ties in China. He is helping us find ventilators. We are making an all out effort in this regard.
Jay Inslee: (28:24)
This also comes back to my requests for folks who might be able to come out of retirement to help us. Because it’s not enough to have beds. We’ve got an additional about 1200 beds that have been delivered so far. The beds have to have physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants and equipment. That all has to be there in place. We have a lot of work to do before we feel confident in our ability to care for all these patients.
Speaker 3: (28:57)
Yes, Governor. How much money is targeted for Washington state in this federal package that it’s passing? Is it nearly enough? How much money does Washington state and cities or localities are going to need?
Jay Inslee: (29:12)
I don’t have a specific dollar for you at the moment. We haven’t had a chance to evaluate the whole legislation. My sense is, is that what the legislature has done and what the Congress has done from a national perspective, I suspect there’s going to have to be more to be done on the financial side. If you look at these unemployment numbers that are cascading in by the thousands, this is going to be a deep trench that we’re going to have to get over.
Jay Inslee: (29:41)
I suspect that we’re going to have to do significantly more. That’s just one governor’s non-actuarial accurate assessment of what’s going to go on. For instance, there is dollars I’m told in the stimulus bill that might be able to help our rural hospitals that are usually on financial thin ice anyway. There are so much money that has to be done to help our rural medical system. I just suspect and I’ve heard several legislative leaders federally that say that.
Jay Inslee: (30:14)
That’s my sense as a state as well. Now, people have asked me about calling a special session of the legislature. I’ve been talking to the leaders of both parties. By the way, who have all been very helpful in this. I’m very appreciative of the bipartisan leadership that’s going on in our state legislature. I hope it’s going to bear fruit.
Jay Inslee: (30:37)
The point is, when we need to call a special session, we will have no fear of calling a special session and making sure whatever job that is necessary gets done.
Speaker 3: (30:48)
Now, we’re going to go to Chris Daniels with [inaudible 00:30:49].
Chris Daniels: (30:55)
Governor, I had a couple of questions. One, [inaudible 00:30:58] concerned, we’ve had a lot of questions. The confusion over the construction and the dates on construction. I know you issued some exemptions yesterday when it comes to housing, critical city projects. The first one is can you give us some more details on those type of projects that all of [inaudible 00:31:23].
Chris Daniels: (31:24)
The second is building up the other question about the federal stimulus package. When will people [inaudible 00:31:34]
Jay Inslee: (31:35)
Yeah. On the stimulus package, to me, the most important is the immediate distribution of funds to families. The unemployment insurance is maybe one of the most important vehicles that will expand unemployment insurance to more people even though they have minimal hours. It will expand it to some gig workers. I haven’t seen the exact definition of that. It will increase the amount. I believe the number is $600 of whatever you otherwise would be available to have. That may be the most family centric thing. Now there’s also some basic cash distribution. I’m sure people can read in the media about that specific thing. There is assistance to our medical communities as I talked about, which is extremely important. There is some assistant for states.
Jay Inslee: (32:27)
It won’t surprise you that a lot of governors don’t believe that will be significant or will not be sufficient. I’m sure there will be further discussions about how to help states more with their specific challenges as well. There is also assistance to some of the vital industries including aerospace in our state. There is a number of avenues. As I’ve said, I suspect this will not be sufficient to the needs to restore our economy.
Jay Inslee: (32:57)
I don’t want to repeat on restoring our economy. Look. This pause we’re having in our economy is not the worst idea for our economy. It might be the best. Because the only time we’re going to get back to full economic activity is by beating this virus. The number one thing we have to do to restore our economy to health is to beat this virus. There is no way to have a healthy economy and have this virus keep ravaging us for years.
Jay Inslee: (33:28)
This is an economic growth strategy. The sooner we can get on top of this, the faster our jobs are going to come back. I think this is not just a health issue. It is an economic recovery strategy as well. We’ve got to keep people afloat during that period of time. Now, the first part of your question was help me out again, Emily. What was the first part of your question again? I’ve forgotten it.
Chris Daniels: (33:53)
In terms of the construction-
Jay Inslee: (33:57)
Yes. I’m sorry. Yes. The best thing for people to do is to look at the order and they can go on coronavirus.wa.gov and actually read the order so they can get the sense of what the order actually says. I will try to paraphrase it to the best I can. Basically, construction activity needs to pause in the state of Washington with certain exceptions. One construction that is necessary for essential businesses like grocery stores. We have to keep grocery stores open and healthy. Construction for grocery stores and the like is allowed. There is a definitional part of the order that defines what some of those essential businesses are. The second part, the thing that we added yesterday, we actually clarified is that construction for public entities, cities, counties, for public purposes, construction for those purposes are allowed.
Jay Inslee: (35:03)
Third, construction that is necessary to preserve existing assets is allowed. If you’ve got a construction project and we’ve had to put a pause on it, but if you don’t shore up the embankment, it’s going to collapse. That type of work to prevent what lawyers call despoliation is allowed to protect those existing assets. Other than that, construction needs to pause and that’s difficult. There’s going to be some gray areas here.
Jay Inslee: (35:41)
We ask people to keep in mind our grandparents and our grandkids when we make decisions in those gray areas. This is personal to me. I’ve got family members in construction. This is not an easy decision. I’m totally convinced it’s the right one so we can get back construction as soon as we can by restoring the health of our economy.
Jay Inslee: (36:02)
… as soon as we can by restoring the health of our economy.
Speaker 4: (36:02)
Time for a few more questions. Okay, we’re going to go to Charles with The Columbia Basin Herald.
Yes, Governor, is there going to be any financial assistance available to rural health departments or health ministries and rural hospitals? Is there any concern about hospital capacity in rural areas like ours?
Jay Inslee: (36:23)
Yeah, you bet we’re concerned about that. We want to build capacity all over the state of Washington and the reason is is that this virus is heading in every direction in every community, large and small across the state of Washington. We are intensely committed, doing everything we can to increase capacity in all of our hospitals in the state of Washington.
Jay Inslee: (36:46)
Now, some of the first assets may go to the hospital that get hit earliest, but eventually we have to have capacity across the state of Washington. We have taken steps to help financially. We’ve committed $2 million as just a start to help these rural hospitals as they go through this period.
Jay Inslee: (37:06)
It’s harder for the rural hospitals because, for instance, we’ve had to stop elective surgeries so we could stockpile the masks and the gowns and the ventilators and so we don’t use them right now on things we don’t have to do right now and stockpile them when the wave hits us. But this has been hard on rural and small hospitals because that’s a good part of their income.
Jay Inslee: (37:29)
Now the federal government has also put a fairly significant number, I don’t have off the top of my head, that will help smaller hospitals and we’ll make sure that that gets distributed here as quickly as possible.
Speaker 4: (37:44)
Okay. So now we’re going to go to Jim Drew with the [inaudible 00:37:45] .
Speaker 5: (37:49)
Governor, the president has sent a mixed message in terms of how long people need to stay at home. It sounds like what you’re saying is that the two weeks may be extended. I’m wondering what the [inaudible 00:38:07] could be. Would that be another two weeks, or would that be [inaudible 00:02:11]? Based on the chart that you displayed, is that going to indicate how long the state-at-home order would be effect?
Jay Inslee: (38:23)
Well, the chart is just one of the things that we use to evaluate the course of this epidemic. We also use what’s called “The positive rate.” Every day we look at all of the tests that were done in the preceding 24 hours and we look at what percentage of those came up positive and that’s a very important number to be able to evaluate where we are, whether this curve is going up or down. We also look at the rate of admissions of what you call [“CLIs” 00:38:59] these are corona-like illnesses. Even if we haven’t diagnosed people when they come into the emergency department and they have sort of respiratory issues and maybe a fever, we count that as a potential corona, and then every day we look at what those admissions are as kind of a predictor of what they’re going to look like three or four days after that.
Jay Inslee: (39:21)
We also look at very sophisticated data on the number of physical interactions that are going on in the public. We use our traffic data. Every day I get a report on what the traffic is across the state of Washington and we look at the percentage changes in that to be able to hopefully predict the number of physical interactions. Traffic is indicative of that.
Jay Inslee: (39:45)
We also use internet data. We have modelers that look at cellphone data geographically to see where people have actually been moving and then they tell us, they help us model what would be predictive based on those interactions.
Jay Inslee: (40:02)
This chart is just one of the things we use in our analysis. We’re going to have hopefully some more modeling available tomorrow to help us in further analysis.
Jay Inslee: (40:12)
Now as to when we reduce some of these requirements, clearly it’s not now and it’s not in the upcoming days because these numbers are going to continue to rise for some period of time. What I can say is that we are going to have to maintain these until we are absolutely confident that this virus is not going to come roaring back. It would not be sufficient to knock down this curve for two weeks and then have it come roaring back. That is a distinct possibility, particularly because if we don’t have adequate testing to really be able to evaluate how many people are infected and that is why I’m letting folks know this order may go beyond two weeks and we have to be prepared for that. We’ll make a call on this every day looking at the data and share as much as we can for Washingtonians. I’ve put out a lot of data and a lot of information, but we want to share as much information we can with people so that they’ll have an idea of what our thinking is.
Speaker 6: (41:25)
The last question.
Speaker 4: (41:26)
The last question, we’re going to Jim Camden with the Spokesman-Review.
Jim Camden: (41:34)
Governor, following up on the earlier question about rural hospital health, or hospitals, when you add those military hospitals, will it go strictly at capacity in Puget Sound or will some of it go to Eastern Washington, rural areas. We have such smell capacity right now. On another note, you’re using testing results, but we’re being told the testing results are still up to four days behind when they’re being taken. How are you factoring that in to your figures? Also, are you doing anything to reduce it?
Jay Inslee: (42:09)
Well, yes. In part, this is why this is a challenge. This is why these decisions are not easy. There’s two parts to this. Number one, we don’t get tests back for days. Number two, whatever we’re seeing today really occurred, 10 to 14 days before. This is a challenge and we’ve got to both think ahead and behind because we’ve got to look at the things we were doing 10 to 14 days ago and see what impact that had that we’re now seeing. The kind of things we’re seeing today are caused, anything that’s positive, of things that happened in the past.
Jay Inslee: (42:46)
The testing, I’ll just relate one thing we’re trying to work on. We have now increased some of our testing capacity, particularly at the University of Washington in addition to commercial labs, and unfortunately the federal government has a rule that if we use federal government-provided test kits, we can’t use the University of Washington to evaluate them, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to a lot of folks because we have this capacity, but there’s this rule that won’t allow us to use the University of Washington. I’ve spoken to the vice president about this and some of the other federal agencies to hopefully remove that rule so we can start to get more testing capacity actually utilizes at the University of Washington.
Jay Inslee: (43:33)
Now the issue of where these hospitals are going, they’re going to go where they can do the most good for the most people. I can’t tell you exactly where that is at the moment. The Army Corps of Engineers is looking at several locations. My suspicion is that the first deployments will probably be in the Puget Sound core because that’s where the huge bulk of the cases are and then expand as the wave spreads out across the state of Washington, if I was going to make a prediction. Obviously we want to be good generals in this war and send our troops where the real attack is and make those decisions in this regard. But look it, we’ve got to increase testing capability across the state. This has been very frustrating to people. We’ve got to increase hospital capacity across the state of Washington. We’re committed to that.
Speaker 6: (44:25)
We have one more question from CNN.
Speaker 4: (44:25)
Leslie with CNN, you’re unmuted.
Can’t hear you.
Jay Inslee: (44:34)
Go ahead, Leslie. I can hear you.
You hear me?
Jay Inslee: (44:39)
Yes, I can hear you, Leslie. Go ahead.
Wonderful. We have just a couple questions. One, knowing that Boeing’s such a large part of the employment and jobs here in the state, if you’re happy with what you saw of out of the Congress for the bailout for in particular Boeing? And there are folks wondering if the stay-at-home order had something to do with the fact that Boeing also shut down and if you waited to see first on the economy whether or not- (silence)
Jay Inslee: (45:24)
… stay home, stay healthy and made that decision based on the state, not any one particular company or industry for that matter. That was a statewide decision.
Jay Inslee: (45:35)
As far as the dollars for aerospace, look, this is such an important industry in our state, we have to be pleased by any infusion that can help employment increase and be stable in the future. I really have not looked at some of the conditions that have been placed on that to tell you whether they were adequate in my mind. I believe that we, rightfully as taxpayers, ought to be able to require some of the beneficiaries to be mindful of fairness for their employees and the rest of the country. I think some of the provisions that I’ve heard of have put conditions in there that do make sense to me about CEO compensation and buy backs in the stock. I think those general conditions make sense. I haven’t seen them specifically. But, yes, in general, look, we want to keep aerospace going big time in our state and we’re committed to that.
Speaker 4: (46:27)
All right. Thank you.
Jay Inslee: (46:30)
With that, thank you. Wash your hands.
Speaker 7: (46:31)
Speaker 8: (46:31)
Thank you so much.
Speaker 7: (46:31)
Thank you. Yeah, [inaudible 00:47:13]