‘Spokane is right on the verge of a very dire situation’: Inslee says as hospitalization rates rise

Jay Inslee
Copyright 4 News Now

SPOKANE, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee said Spokane County is on the verge of a “very dire situation” during his visit to meet with local leaders about the county’s COVID-19 response.

On Thursday, Inslee met with local health authorities and political leaders to discuss the current state of the pandemic in the county. He said that, although he was “frankly stunned” by the doubling of hospitalizations in the past few days, he was encouraged by the conversations he had with local leaders.

The governor said the county could be in a critical situation if the right steps are not taken soon. Dan Getz, Chief Medical Officer at Sacred Heart, added that Spokane County could rival the infection rate seen in Snohomish County early on in the pandemic if action is not taken immediately.

Inslee also added that steps need to be taken to help both the people of Spokane County and the economy.

“We have to do both at the same,” he said.

Inslee suggested that the best way to rescue the economy is to rescue people from the pandemic, specifically by following orders from health officials to practice social distancing and wearing masks.

“Wearing a mask is showing you care about somebody else,” Inslee said.

He also added that wearing a mask should not be politicized.

“This should not be something that’s a partisan issue, at all. Both Democrats and Republicans care about the people around,” Inslee said.

By practicing proper health protocols, authorities believe Spokane County could start meeting the criteria to advance through the state’s reopening plan. As it stands, Spokane County’s case rate is twice as high as the state requirement to apply for phase 3.

Inslee said all metrics are important, but the two he is really interested in are new hospitalizations and the rate of infection. That is why he said he was so discouraged about Spokane’s hospital numbers doubling recently.

If proper protocols are taken, Inslee said it will still take more than 14 days for health data to improve in the county enough to advance to phase 3.

READ: Health officer: 21 COVID-19 cases linked to Spokane County restaurant

RELATED: Gov. Inslee issues statewide proclamation requiring Washington residents to wear masks