Apr 1, 2020

Washington Governor Jay Inslee COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 1

Washington Governor April 1
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsWashington Governor Jay Inslee COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 1

Washington governor Jay Inslee held a press conference today on coronavirus. He said it is “highly likely” the state’s stay-home order will be extended. Read the full transcript here.


Follow Rev Transcripts

Jay Inslee: (00:01)
People who’ve lost their lives and their families, we know they are grieving and we are grieving with them. The reason I mentioned this is in the days to come, almost all Washingtonians are going to have some challenges in their lives, inconveniences, disturbances and frustrations, and while we go through this, I am sure that we will keep these lost Washingtonians in our hearts and in our minds so that we will be committed in their memory to do everything we can to prevent other families from having to suffer these losses. I’m confident we will share their lives in our hearts. I’m also confident that people will rise to the challenge of working together to defeat this virus. Today we’re here to talk about yet another way to do that so that we can emerge victorious as soon as possible.

Jay Inslee: (00:56)
The calendar has turned to April. We know this month could be decisive in this effort, both in term of our nation’s response and our state’s response against COVID-19. This is perhaps the decisive moment that we are facing, and we know that this is a stern foe, it is an invisible foe, but it is not one that we cannot master by seizing our own destiny, and doing the things, working together to tame this beast. So today, I want to say that there’s many reasons to be appreciative of the joint efforts of people across the state of Washington. One of them is to be grateful for the manufacturers who are springing to the task of manufacturing in our state, the crucial supplies that we need in this war against this virus. Various places across the state, we’re making surgical masks that are needed by our workers and healthcare facilities and emergency responders. We’re helping people who are essential workers get their personal protective equipment because we need all of our essential workers to be healthy.

Jay Inslee: (02:15)
Joining us via a video stream is Dan Nordstrom, CEO of Outdoor Research. This is a company that’s made super mountain climbing and outdoor gear and is now turning to the task before us. We also have Chris Johnson who is president and CEO of the Association of Washington Business who has been so helpful finding additional help in the State of Washington. So here’s the fact, we have distributed well over a million pieces of personal protective equipment by the State of Washington across the state and there are basically three supply lines, if you will, for this vital equipment. One is from hospitals and medical clinics, one is from the state of Washington, and one is from the federal government. So there are three supply lines feeding the front lines in this effort.

Jay Inslee: (03:12)
In this effort, we know that the needs are great for face shields, for gowns, for N95 masks and surgical masks. The equipment we need for increasing testing including vials and the medium, this is the material that the swab goes into to make sure it’s transferred to the lab. We distribute equipment as we receive it from the federal government, from the federal stockpile, to the hospitals and emergency responders. But we know this, what we have done so far is not enough. We rather urgently need to increase the stocks of particularly personal protection equipment. Our nurses deserve to be protected. They are in the front lines and they are heroes. Our doctors deserve to be protected. Our maintenance workers in hospitals and our long-term care facilities deserve to be protected. Our firefighters and police officers who respond, they deserve to be protected. So it is up to us to do everything humanly possible to get them this life-saving equipment.

Jay Inslee: (04:26)
So we have ongoing orders out for supplies from the federal stockpile, but the federal government has not been able to supply them to us fast enough to meet the need. I’ll talk for a moment about another thing the federal government could do. But the fact of the matter is, we need to seize our own destiny and we need to now do what we did in World War II. In World War II, the people of Washington State built B-29s in Seattle. They built Minesweepers on Bainbridge Island in Kitsap County. Now it is time for all of us to turn to manufacturing the equipment we need in this fight, in this war, in this century.

Jay Inslee: (05:14)
We need the items that you see on your screen. We need businessmen and women to turn to making surgical mass and swab test kits so we can increase the testing, so we can test people who really need the test. We need vials that are important part of this test. We need N95 masks that are the top of the line mask, and face shields, and gloves, and surgical gowns. We need all of this precious equipment and we believe that there is the best talent in the world in making things or manufactured products here in the State of Washington.

Jay Inslee: (05:54)
So I’m here today to ask all people, all leaders, all skilled workers to ask themselves if they can join this effort, ask themselves if they can change what you’re making now. If you’re making a plastic parts of any nature today, we ask that you ask yourself if you could help make face shields or even the top piece that goes around your forehead? If you’re making medical supplies today, ask yourself, can you make vials that can be used in our test kits? If you’re making any cloth related product, we want to ask you to ask yourself, can you make surgical masks as fast as you can? Now that is a request that requires disruption of existing business supply lines, but this is a moment that counts, and we have great business people, we have great skilled manufacturing people and I am here to ask you to think if you can get into this fight and volunteer to be a soldier in this fight as a manufacturer.

Jay Inslee: (06:58)
I want to tell you why this is necessary. Obviously it’s necessary because the virus has sprung upon us as it has, but the fact is that we are not going to be able to get as much help, or at least we cannot count on as much help, as we would like from the federal government. We have been hopeful that the federal government would engage the Defense Production Act that would use the federal government ability to require manufacturers to make these products. At my request, the president engaged a part of that last week when he issued orders regarding ventilators, but to date, he has not issued, using that act, for surgical masks, for swab tests, for saline solution, for surgical gowns, for face shields. Unless that happens, we just got to realize we have to put pedal to the metal right here on a volunteer basis in the state of Washington. So we’re grateful that the president did use that for ventilators, but there are so many other pieces of equipment that we desperately need. So we want to amplify this request. We know that certain manufacturers are helping us out, but we’ve got more to do. So if you do find it in your heart to think, even think about the possibility of this, I hope you can go to coronavirus.wa.gov. Coronavirus. wa.gov, and you’ll see a how you can help button and I hope you can sign up in this regard. Again, I think people, if they use a little creativity, a lot of people are going to find out you can help in this fight.

Jay Inslee: (08:50)
Now with that, I would like to turn it over to Dan Nordstrom of Outdoor Research who has been so helpful to us, is one of our great entrepreneurs in Washington State. Dan why don’t you tell us how you got interested in this and what your plans are and what your suggestions are the rest of the state? Thank you, Dan.

Dan Nordstron: (09:11)
Sure. Thank you, governor. Outdoor Research has been making PPE, mostly tactical gloves, for the military for decades and our factory in [SoDo 00:09:20], as you know. When it became apparent a few weeks back that mask availability was going to be a critical component of winning this war, our manufacturing team spontaneously dove into exploring what it would take, and it’s been amazing to see. In just two weeks, we now have tooling on the way, and a validated materials supply chain in place. Frankly, it’s been super inspiring for everyone at the company, just seeing our team’s dive into solving this problem. There’s no doubt that everyone at OR is feeling better about our day to day personal situations just knowing that we’re making moves to help out.

Dan Nordstron: (09:55)
We’ve spent a lot of money and made substantial commitments without knowing details on who we’ll sell it to or what the quantities will be, but to be honest, we all just agreed, it’s the right thing to do regardless. Chris?

Chris Johnson: (10:09)
Well, thank you Dan. I’m Chris Johnson, President and CEO of the Association of Washington Business. [inaudible 00:10:17] privileged to serve at the State’s chamber of Commerce and the State’s Manufacturing Council representing nearly 7,000 employers across the state. Let me start by saying to the governor, manufacturers have heard your call governor, and they are stepping up to show critical leadership at this important time. In fact, earlier today, the Department of Congress under the direction of Lisa Brown and your new procurements czar joined with us and nearly 60 employers across the state to begin this very important and much needed work.

Chris Johnson: (10:47)
These companies come from every industry, and located in every corner of the State of Washington and we know that many more manufacturers want to raise their hand and volunteer to step up and they’re doing so with some great stories. The distilleries and wineries that are making hand sanitizer. There’s a manufacturer [inaudible 00:11:05] that’s making face masks for a local hospital and delivering them right there in their own local community, and manufacturers of all types, just like Dan, are eager to join this effort by retooling their shops to make personal protective equipment, such as face shields, gowns and other items to keep our healthcare providers and other frontline workers safe. They are all willing and eager to play an important role, and a leadership role right now. Washington manufactures are, as the governor’s talked about, have been the backbone of our economy in good times, they fuel our prosperity, and in challenging times like this, they lift us up to find the much needed solutions that are facing our community, and our state. I have no doubt that Washington manufacturers are up to this challenge that we currently face, and will answer your call, governor, and do it in a safe way. That includes social distancing and other measures to protect their workers and all Washingtonian. As one of the manufacturers said on today’s call, “We can do anything.”

Chris: (12:02)
… we can do anything, he said. Just give them the sketch and they can make it work and they’ll go to work with their employees to get it done. Thank you, Governor, for your leadership and for the opportunity to sit during this immense time of challenge in our state. We are in it together. We’re proud that me and Washington can make a difference and make a difference to frontline workers and all Washingtonians across the state. We look forward to working with you all.

Jay Inslee: (12:28)
Thank you, Chris. Thanks for your leadership. A couple comments if I will. The scale of what our manufacturing base can do really is impressive. Outdoor research I think can be doing over 100,000 mass, potentially, we hope by the end of this month. That’s an amazing transition. Dan and his team went out and did that even without a specific order in mind. That’s the kind of spirit that we know is alive in Washington. We want to awaken it.

Jay Inslee: (12:57)
The second thing I will say, if you are a manufacturer or a designer, please don’t be limited to the fact that you can’t make the whole enchilada of these products. Our test kits have a variety of things in it, swabs, a medium, solution, vials. Even if you can do one part of that to go into our kit, I hope that you will think about that soon. So, thanks so much.

Jay Inslee: (13:25)
I have a few other things I’d like to talk about if I will. Other than manufacturing, I just wanted to bring people abreast of some of our latest efforts. Last night, I announced steps to help distressed Washington homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. At my request, the department of financial institutions is giving guidance to companies that service mortgages to work with homeowners on payments including mortgage forbearance.

Jay Inslee: (14:02)
DFI director, Charlie Clark, tells me that financial institutions are responding positively to guidance and we want to continue that effort. Our moratorium on evictions of those who rent, of a few weeks ago, remains in place and my staff continues to explore other measures that might help. No one should go without a roof over their head for not being able to pay rent at this time. I also note that Attorney General Bob Ferguson has indicated that his office will be active if, in fact, renters are not being treated fairly in this regard.

Jay Inslee: (14:39)
Today, 130 members of the National Guard are mobilizing to provide support for food banks across the state, so people’s basic needs are not disrupted by the crisis. We’ve heard food banks need help in part because their volunteers, many times, fit the profile of people who are at risk. So, we’ve had thousands of volunteers who need to take care of themselves and stay home right now. We hope to replace a good part of that through the great efforts of our National Guard.

Jay Inslee: (15:12)
I want to emphasize that the National Guard’s efforts are not related to the enforcement of our stay home, stay healthy initiative. Their members are fellow Washingtonians that are simply here to help us through these… Providing substitute services, the kind that I have talked about.

Jay Inslee: (15:34)
I also want to note that while most Washingtonians are being kind and generous and finding the best within themselves, I am concerned about some reports of people who are being overtaken by fear and they’ve been involved in disruptive activities and sometimes threats against our Washingtonians who are Asian or Asian American. People who commit hate crimes in our state will be brought to justice. That is intolerable in our state, and we hope people understand this affects all humanity and all humanity ought to be respected in this fight.

Jay Inslee: (16:16)
As for the virus outbreak itself, there are reports about the spread that are somewhat encouraging and they signal that social distancing measures may be having some beneficial impact. I was pleased that yesterday the White House corona virus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Burks, praised our state’s efforts to get the spread under control, including strong mitigation efforts and testing.

Jay Inslee: (16:48)
She referred to a chart that showed how the state is doing relative to other states. If I can just refer to this chart, I believe it’s on your screen. This shows the cumulative cases per 100,000 population and it shows a New York in the blue. That’s the highest line. New Jersey, that’s the dark brown. Connecticut, gray. Washington, the light beige, and then California in the dark blue.

Jay Inslee: (17:21)
I think that, first off, our hearts are with people in New York today, in New Jersey, who are having such a difficult challenge and I know people are thinking of them even if we don’t know anyone in New York because we do not want to end up in that particular challenge. And that’s what we’re working so hard to avoid.

Jay Inslee: (17:41)
I do want to show this though. This would suggest that some of the things we’re doing are having a beneficial impact and may have reduced the rate of increase of this disease and that is gratifying. But Dr. Burks also said something that we simply have to take to heart and that is that without continuing these steps for at least the next 30 days, we don’t know if the virus will spring back up. We are not at the apex even today, or perhaps close to it.

Jay Inslee: (18:18)
So, it remains likely we will need to extend our stay home, stay healthy initiative. We are not yet ready to formally announce that. We hope to have some further guidance for our state in the next couple of days. But life does go on and there is something I hope everybody can do today and that is to make sure we participate in the US census. I can’t overstate how important this is.

Jay Inslee: (18:44)
The number of people who participate in the census will control how much federal assistance we get of nutritional assistance, job training, educational, and healthcare issues. So, this is a moment where we have our healthcare at risk and it’s a moment we really need to participate in the census to increase our numbers so that we are treated fairly by the federal government.

Jay Inslee: (19:10)
And speaking as a governor who gets up every morning trying to help Washingtonians, we’ve all got to pitch in on this so that we get treated fairly both in the financial side and in the US house of representatives because this will determine how many members we have in the US Congress to help our state in so many different ways. So, with that, I would be happy to scan for your questions and I’m sure Dan and Chris would as well.

Speaker 1: (19:36)
We’re going to go first to Rachel [inaudible 00:07:37]. Governor, can you give us a sense of how short we are in the various equipment that you’ve listed earlier that Washington does provide in lieu of the federal government? And a second question. As you know, the Department of Health is currently having calendars updated that were posted publicly. Is that affecting your process [inaudible 00:07:58]?

Jay Inslee: (19:57)
Well, we would certainly rather have, at least daily, the total numbers that we’ve been looking at and there has been a challenge on that because the numbers have overwhelmed the system. The system administrators have now embraced, I believe, Microsoft and some other vendors to bring in a new updated system that will have better service. We hope to have that up shortly.

Jay Inslee: (20:22)
And yes, we obviously would like to have those numbers. We hope to have them shortly, but the trends are more important than any particular daily report. These numbers are going to go up and down on a daily basis. We are much more interested in trend lines. So, assuming we get this back in fairly quickly, the fact that we had a couple of days slowness probably will not be a hugely injurious to our planning. But we obviously want to have that as soon as possible.

Jay Inslee: (20:51)
As far as the amount that we are short, it’s almost an infinite number because there are so many needs in the state of Washington. I’ll give you an example. I talked to Dr. Ramsey at the University of Washington Hospital this morning. He indicated that their needs might be five or perhaps 10 times what they historically have used for personal protection equipment at the University of Washington.

Jay Inslee: (21:15)
And the reason is that this, as an infection process, it has extreme demands on the amount of material that our nurses and doctors have to use, our respiratory therapists. The needs are huge in our hospitals. They are also large in our longterm care facilities or nursing homes, in our emergency responders, in some of our employee groups that have interaction with the public and those who are selling tickets to our ferries, to grocery store workers who have an impact. So, we have huge needs and that is one of the reasons I’m here to ask for help of our manufacturing supply chain and our business leaders to help come into the game to help us out.

Jay Inslee: (22:03)
Now, we are hopeful that the federal government will also become more engaged as our active ally. They have done significant things for the state of Washington, the Army Guard, the US Corps of Engineer, they have released things from the stockpile. But if you look at the demands across the United States, we are simply going to have to increase our manufacturing capability nationwide to be able to satisfy the needs of personal protection of equipment and testing equipment so that we can test people, particularly as we come out of this because, frankly, is our curve goes down, and we hope it will as soon as we can, we’re going to have, paradoxically, increasing needs for testing capability to test people to see they’re safe to come back to work.

Jay Inslee: (22:53)
And so, our testing demands are extraordinary. We’re going to do everything we can in the state. I just got off the phone a few minutes ago with S-squared. They’re a company in Spokane, Stephanie Bernard, who helped found this company. They’re now making the medium that goes in these vials that you put the swab in and they then send it to the lab. They’re talking about increasing their production significantly, and we really appreciate that. And so, we’re getting help from manufacturers. It has to be very, very significant.

Speaker 1: (23:26)
[inaudible 00:23:26] from Arizona.

Speaker 2: (23:30)
Yes, governor, two questions. We know it’s difficult to calculate the number of cases, but can you give us an update simply on the number of deaths from corona virus in our state. And when you decide whether to extend, it sounds like you’re wanting to extend the stay at home work, will you extend it for a full 30 days?

Jay Inslee: (23:55)
We have not made that decision yet. We are looking at the data to decide what we believe would give us confidence that it will continue-

Jay Inslee: (24:03)
-to have success. We’re looking at what the generations of the virus is. We’re looking at the rate that we think we have been able to suppress it to some degree. We’re looking at the fatality rate. We are looking at the traffic rates to determine how much people are really abiding by our order and that’s extremely important to really look at how much compliance we’re getting.

Jay Inslee: (24:32)
We’re also looking at the hospitalization rate of what are called CLIAs, COVID-like symptoms, that are coming into our hospitals. That’s a very important indicator of future potential fatalities in our hospitals. So we’re looking at all of those on a daily basis. We’ll make the best decision we can based on the data and I think it’s really important to be driven by the data.

Jay Inslee: (24:58)
Now, I want to reiterate as we approach this decision, it is going to be a difficult one, realizing the interruption in people’s lives. But it is going to be a necessary one, when we’ve seen over 230 people lose their lives, passivity is not an option here. Deciding on comfort is not an option. Deciding on the status quo is not an option. We have a chance, all of us, to be, what we’ve done in the past, like we were in World War II, committed to our community’s survival. This reminds me of what Winston Churchill said about victory. He said that there is no other option than victory, because without victory there is not survival. That’s what is stake here and so we’re going to make the right decision, I hope it will be fairly soon.

Speaker 3: (25:55)
[inaudible 00:25:55] Jones, Seattle Times.

Speaker 4: (25:59)
Governor, the state’s been really short on protective gear, even for the 10 counties that were prioritized to get supplies, but now we’re seeing more and more cases farther out around the state.

Speaker 4: (26:13)
Is the state doing anything to make sure at least some protective gear, it’s being requested by these… Are they getting any kind of help at this point?

Jay Inslee: (26:24)
I believe so and I’ll check to make sure, but the state is now going to be involved in what… Every state in the United States today is short of personal protective equipment, very short. Every single state, every governor, every mayor, every business leader, we are all in the same soup in this regard, and we are all making very difficult choices on priorities, where this can do the most good for the most people.

Jay Inslee: (26:52)
So I haven’t looked at the numbers but I assume that a huge amount of this material has gone into the Central Puget Sound area first, because that’s where the disease was first. But we realized that it is now spreading across the state of Washington and I’m confident that our Department of Health is going to prioritize this, realizing that every citizen is equal and all have an equal chance to live. So we’ll insist on that.

Jay Inslee: (27:20)
We are looking at some medical facilities in Eastern Washington. I don’t think the final decision has been made and I will reiterate this, we think we’ve had some success potentially bending the curve in the Puget Sound area, but the most recent evidence suggests that we’re now having an increase, accelerated rate in Adams County, in Skagit County, in Clark County, in Benton County.

Jay Inslee: (27:48)
So these are the areas we are most concerned about and these are the areas that I hope people are most committed to stay at home and stay healthy, because what you’re seeing in New York could be coming to the Tri-Cities. It could be coming to Mount Vernon and we are not going to accept that.

Jay Inslee: (28:06)
So I am asking everyone, no matter how far you are from the space needle, we got to realize we got to be together on this as soon as we can.

Speaker 3: (28:16)
Next is Drew [inaudible 00:04:18].

Drew: (28:21)
… For a couple of weeks, this is the first time we’ve heard you making this plea for manufacturers to switch up what they’re doing and turn out this gear. Is that a result of the cases or a lack of help from the federal government?

Jay Inslee: (28:36)
Well, it’s a combination of things. First, this has been an ongoing effort. Chris, with the Association of Washington Business, our Department of Commerce, for several weeks they’ve been involved in trying to recruit businesses and we’ve had some success. But we need to broaden the effort, we’ve got to get more people on the team here. That’s because both the existence of the cases, the lack of confidence in the federal stockpile, and to some degree the fact that we have not had as aggressive a federal partner to engage nationally the manufacturing base of the United States.

Jay Inslee: (29:15)
We were hopeful by this time the president would have made a national call using the Defense Production Act, to make sure that we were doing the equivalent of B29s and minesweepers, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in 1941. In December 8th 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn’t go out and say, “Connecticut, good luck building a battleship.” He engaged the federal efforts and we are hopeful still, that the president will make that decision and if that is done, I think that’ll help. So it’s a combination of reasons. And we’re looking forward to success.

Speaker 3: (30:00)
And [inaudible 00:30:00] would like to add to that.

Chris: (30:05)
Governor, if I can add onto that and to the answer the [inaudible 00:30:06] question. I think manufacturers stepped up earlier as they think about they needed things early on than just hand sanitizer. We saw that run out really quickly and thought distilleries and wineries react really fast across states or can get equipment. I know we’ve been engaging employers across the state for the better part of two weeks.

Chris: (30:26)
What the Department of Commerce is talking about, the next pieces that were needed as you outlined. PPE, ventilators, hospital beds, working with also the supply steam to better understand the components that go into these types of products that are needed that ensure that the supply stream is able to be there as well. And certainly I think that the challenge and opportunity to understand the quantity, how much is needed, and then show that we can meet demand both for Washingtonians and for outside the state and in the Pacific Northwest.

Jay Inslee: (30:57)
I’ll just add something to what Chris said and I really appreciate all those business people that have already stepped up. I will tell you, if you’re a business that can make any of these products, or even components of these products, you will have an infinite demand, because the entire nation is suffering what we are on the scarcity of these products. So don’t worry about the demand. Whatever you can make, we will find a place to sell it. We’ll use it first and the rest of the nation can use it as well.

Speaker 3: (31:26)
Next we’ll go to Zach from the Wenatchee World.

Speaker 5: (31:31)
Hi there Governor. My question is in regards to housing. The federal government included rental properties under their 2 trillion stimulus package. Do you know the percentage of type of rental properties that will be covered in the stimulus package? And then second, what in your opinion is a reasonable amount of time landlords should give to tenants who might not be able to afford rent this month or for the immediate future?

Jay Inslee: (31:53)
Well the answer to your last question, we have re-issued an order that is legally binding, so that people cannot be evicted for failure to pay rent. I presume that order will be in place as long as we have an order, although I suppose that potentially could change. So right now it goes through next week and as I’ve said, it’s likely to be extended. What a reasonable time is depends on the future course of this virus and its impact on the economy and what we can do to help people through unemployment compensation.

Jay Inslee: (32:28)
As you know, we’ve been successful in our state. Very early I improved the access to unemployment compensation by removing the one week waiting period. We also did things to allow people to get access to unemployment insurance who otherwise would not. Congress then continued that trend by doing some really great things to increase the number of people who can get unemployment insurance, including gig workers.

Jay Inslee: (32:55)
They also increased the amount that people can get. People at the lower end of the pay scale will get their unemployment compensation plus $600. So there’s some good things in that regard, but this is not an everybody’s solution. Look, nobody’s going to come out of this unscathed in our state. Everyone is going to have some economic concern and we all are to recognize that. The question is, what can we do to help everybody as much as possible? And that’s what we’re doing in Washington state. As far as the percentages, I don’t have a number for you, I will try to get that to you. Tara will try to get that to you when we can find it.

Speaker 3: (33:33)
Next we go to Keith [inaudible 00:09:35].

Speaker 5: (33:37)
Okay Governor, with the National Guard now being [inaudible 00:33:40] the food bank, what is the potential that you may need to use the National Guard to force your stay at home state policy?

Jay Inslee: (33:47)
I think it’s very unlikely for several reasons. Number one, as I’ve said yesterday or two days ago, the vast majority of Washingtonians are compliant with this. They want to comply, not just because it’s a legal requirement, because they understand how important it is to their family’s health. So that’s number one. Number two, we have an organized way to help people make the right decision. First, they’ll get a notice from some governmental agency. Second, businesses particularly, will be counseled that they need to make the right decision or there is a consequence that they could lose their business license, they could lose access to potential utilities, if you don’t have your business license. And third, and only third, is a potential for legal action and it is both a civil and criminal violation. So I’ve got to believe that well before you get to the third step, the vast majority people are going to comply.

Jay Inslee: (34:52)
So the guard is there to help us with mostly logistics. They will be helping in some of the construction. They’re helping in delivery of food. They can help on potential security issues around shelters and the like. And they can help with life and safety issues. That’s what they’re there for, that’s what they’re really good at. I can’t overstate how much we appreciate people leaving their civilian lives to come help us. I’ve seen them in action at Oso, in our forest fires and it’s just a really proficient group and we appreciate what they’re doing.

Speaker 3: (35:27)
Next we go to Jim Cantlon, The Spokesman-Review.

Speaker 5: (35:34)
Thanks Governor. Is there a shortage of ventilators in Washington, like in other States and have you found companies in Washington to make those? And kind of a detailed question, you’ve pledged a hundred thousand masks a day in Richmond’s Company by the end of April. I’m wondering, 100,000 a day, a week, a month?

Jay Inslee: (35:55)
That was a day, am I correct Dan on that number?

Dan: (35:59)
Yes sir. Hopefully 150 up to 200,000 as we get the machines all-

Dan: (36:03)

Jay Inslee: (36:05)
So on the ventilators, yes, we do have a local manufacturer, Venn Tech. They’re working in a partnership with General Motors and actually they were subject to the one thing that the president has used the National Production Act for, and he did make an order in that regard. Turns out it wasn’t necessary because Venn Tech already had an agreement with General Motors. They’d already consummated, but they’re moving forward.

Jay Inslee: (36:33)
We have an order for Venn Tech ventilators, as well as, we’ve received 500 ventilators from the national stockpile. So they are available today to bulk up our supply and we have orders that have been placed and… I think approximately another 400 ventilators with private contractors including Venn Tech. Now, whether we have enough or not remains to be seen because we cannot predict the exact course of this virus. What I can tell you, it is much, much more likely that we will have enough ventilators if we have fewer people going to the beach and congregating. And we have fewer businesses are staying open when they shouldn’t be. If we all do what we can, I think there’s a good chance that we will have enough ventilators given the current trajectory of this virus.

Speaker 7: (37:30)
Okay, next we go to Jerry with the [inaudible 00:37:32] Herald.

Jay Inslee: (37:38)

Speaker 7: (37:38)
You there?

Jay Inslee: (37:39)
Want to unmute yourself?

Jerry: (37:44)
I’m unmuted. Can you hear me governor?

Jay Inslee: (37:46)

Jerry: (37:47)
Okay. I’m going to go back to the PPE supply and the priorities. There’s also priorities or tiering. I believe that hospitals, nursing homes, long term care facilities are near the top. We’re hearing still that the nursing homes are not getting what they need. I wonder if you could talk about why are they not getting what they need and are you concerned the families may believe the state is potentially putting lives at risk as a result of that?

Jay Inslee: (38:16)
Well, look, we are doing everything humanly possible to fill the needs for personal protection equipment for every Washingtonian that can use it. We are scouring the globe for supplies. We are embracing local manufacturers to make these products. We are conserving as much as we can these products. That’s why some time ago I issued an order stopping elective surgery, which was not popular by the way because it’s a good source of revenue for hospitals and people want to have their hips fixed. I can certainly relate to that.

Jay Inslee: (38:54)
But it was necessary so that we could stockpile the personal protective equipment we knew we were going to need. So we’re doing everything humanly possible. We think there’s some more that the federal government could do. As I’ve talked about with the Defense Production Act. We hope the president will reconsider his position in that regard. But you’re right, longterm care facilities do not have as much PPE as they would like. Emergency responders in a number of places don’t have as much as they would like. There’s no question about that and that’s why I get up every morning concentrating on this. Look, I’ve got… Our orders have significantly increased in the last 48 hours in our state stockpile and we just hope the federal government can can help on that as well.

Speaker 7: (39:47)
Do you have time for two more questions. Next will be Simone with 213.

Simone: (39:53)
Governor, a couple of questions for you. You discussed those state numbers being delayed a couple of days. We are working on a four day delay right now and [inaudible 00:40:00] tells me they don’t have a time table for the return. As this goes on, does this impact federal response? Also what do you say to nurses? We’re hearing a lot of people are being forced to reuse masks, wondering if they should still be working, if it’s safe to work without the proper equipment that they need. And we’re getting a ton of messages for people who can not apply for unemployment, can’t get through on the website, the phone. Do you have an update on the unemployment filing issues and the backlog we’re seeing in our state?

Jay Inslee: (40:33)
Well, I think these concerns are hugely sincere and well-placed and totally valid. The frustration people are feeling on unemployment insurance, on access to masks. These are really justified having that sense of frustration. I share them tremendously. I feel them personally. So we’re doing everything we can to minimize that. On the unemployment compensation front, as you know, we have been hit by an avalanche of unprecedented claims beyond any imagination in any historic period, and so we’re hiring over 200 people to try to process those claims as fast as humanly possible. Now, during this interim period, I have taken the steps that will help people, including to put a moratorium on evictions, to work to reduce foreclosures of those who are owners of homes, to encourage Congress to expand unemployment compensation. All of these things are being done to help people while we get the unemployment compensation up to these incredible demands and we hope that’ll help folks.

Jay Inslee: (41:50)
The frustration of nurses and grocery store workers and respiratory therapists, those are entirely valid and real and that is why all of us in this state, I hope will pitch in to find some way to help this and that’s what we’re doing today. I’m asking for business people to pitch in to explore options where they can help the manufacturing system go faster. I’m asking the president to pitch in by invoking the Defense Production Act, which will order companies to maybe make a few less toys, and a few less dishes, and a few less cup holders, and start making this life saving equipment. Now the president has not done that yet. He is hearing from governors in every corner of the state, Republicans and Democrats, pleading with him to do that. I hope eventually he will do that. The sooner he does that, the better off we will all be.

Speaker 7: (42:49)
Last question [inaudible 00:06:57].

Speaker 9: (42:58)
The Washington Post is reporting, that this [inaudible 00:43:01] strategic National [inaudible 00:43:02] running low and it’s nearly exhausted. If you could speak to that? And also, some people say that in terms of COVID-19, President Trump, is similar to George W. Bush, Hurricane Katrina. If you could comment on that too.

Jay Inslee: (43:22)
Well, as far as the last, I’m not sure really is useful to be thinking for a historic evaluation right now. I remember Katrina. I was so disappointed in the federal response that I flew down on my own nickel to the Houston Astrodome and just volunteered to help the victims of Katrina because the federal government was not helping as much as they should. And I just went down to see if I could help some people and marginally helped a few families that… In fact we helped find a grandmother who was still flooded. So I know what it is to be frustrated with the federal response. As I’ve indicated, while I am grateful for many things the federal government has done for our state already, I still am hopeful that the federal government will up its game by bringing more manufacturing might the same might that won World War II into this national endeavor.

Jay Inslee: (44:22)
And so I’m hopeful in that regard. Now there was another part of your question here that I may have missed. You had another part to your question.

Speaker 9: (44:30)
Yeah, yeah. The Washington Post is reporting-

Jay Inslee: (44:36)
Oh yes, yes. First off, we don’t know the answer to that because we do not have a window into the National Stockpile. That may surprise you, but we don’t, we governors don’t know how much is in the National Stockpile, how much is left. So I really can’t answer that question. But I think I’ve expressed myself that we can’t depend on being rescued here. We have to do self rescue, we’ve got to be committed to our own destiny. We’ve got to step up the plate. And that’s what I’m asking people to do today. And as Chris and Dan have indicated, a lot of business people have, a lot of working people have.

Jay Inslee: (45:12)
We’re very appreciative of that. And I think that Washington spirit is going to ultimately win the day. But I want to win the day as soon as possible. This is really hard on people. The changes in their lives, it’s very difficult. With childcare and wages and everything else. And I was talking to Trudy about this and she sort of bucked me up and said, “You got to realize the one thing about this. This is temporary.” And we want to make it as short a period as this temporary period is in our lives. And the more that we pitch in, the faster we’re going to get through this. So I appreciate everybody’s help. With that, please take care, wash your hands. Good luck.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.