It's been four months since Gov. Inslee announced his Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. Cases in Washington have risen from 2,000 to almost 50,000, and deaths have increased from 110 to nearly 1,500.
Thursday, Inslee and Secretary of State John Wiesman are changing guidance and regulations around restaurants, bars, and fitness centers, as well as weddings and funerals. The changes will also affect family entertainment centers, movie theaters and card rooms.
"We do not take these steps lightly," Inslee said. "We know every prohibition is a challenge for individuals and business owners. But we know that if we fail to act, we expose people and businesses to even greater risk down the line."
In addition, Wiesman announced an expansion of his face coverings order that went into effect Saturday. The expansion requires face coverings in all common spaces, such as elevators, hallways and shared spaces in apartment buildings, university housing and hotels, as well as congregate settings such as nursing homes.
Eviction Moratorium Extension
Inslee also announced an extension of the state's eviction moratorium to Oct. 15. Details on the extension will be announced in the near future. In addition to the moratorium, the extension also directs Governor's Office staff to convene an informal work group of landlords and tenants to discuss potential changes to the order in the short-term and long-term as the pandemic progresses, including the prospect of rent increases.
New Antibody Study
A new study by the state Department of Health and UW Medicine tests the blood of Washingtonians for antibodies to give a fuller picture of how prevalent COVID-19 is across the state. Data from the study could inform policymakers' public health decisions as cases of COVID-19 mount.
COVID-19 Cases Rise
Sunday, the State Department of Health reported 786 new COVID-19 cases in Washington as of Saturday night, and seven additional deaths.The latest numbers bring the total count to 52,635 cases with 1,501 deaths. That means 2.9 percent of people who have been diagnosed with the virus in Washington have died.
The pandemic has cast a spotlight on the deadly inequities in Washington, as COVID-19 has disproportionately sickened Hispanic people, who account for 43 percent of cases but just 13 percent of the population.