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Willapa Harbor Herald
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Inslee extends pause for reopening, No social gatherings over 10 people

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With the gradual increase in COVID-19 cases in Washington, Governor Jay Inslee has extended the pause for reopening the state. This pause is now in effect until July 28, but may change depending on the trajectory of the virus. For counties in Phase 3 one of the biggest changes is the limit on the number of people at social gatherings fell from 50 back to 10.

"We know that public health matters to everyone and we know that what happens in the next few weeks will determine what happens this fall," said Inslee during a press conference on July 14. During the first pause, live entertainment and bar top service was removed from the current phase of reopening.

"People who may be enjoying themselves can also be infecting others in these facilities and we simply have to make prudent decisions in this regard," Inslee continued. "So people should not be surprised if more gets rolled back depending on the course of this pandemic and that's going to be influenced by how many people wear masks and how many people decide to socially distance. That's going to determine our decision. This week (July 14) governors of California and Oregon announced the return of certain restrictions and those are possibilities here as well. Doing so would be a really tough decision, but the status quo right now is very dangerous. We cannot accept the worst case scenario of the experience where Arizona, Florida, or New York has experienced."

Inslee pointed out that the stable rate of growth of the virus is slow, but if the rate of growth is not broken then Washington could have an explosion of COVID-19 cases.

"You can drown with the tide coming in if you don't move," he illustrated. "Even though it is really slow [you can drown] just as much as you can as a big instant wave. That's the situation we're looking at is the incoming tide." So even though the numbers are moving slowly upward, they are moving in the wrong direction. The observation is that once the numbers get to a critical point, the health care system will be overwhelmed and the virus situation in Washington could become critical like Florida.

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