Inslees urge Washington to forego large Thanksgivings due to COVID-19 threat

Gov. Jay and Trudi Inslee give an address to the state Nov. 12.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee and First Lady Trudi Inslee asked Washington residents on Thursday to avoid gathering with others outside their household this Thanksgiving, pointing to increasing transmission of COVID-19 in the state.

And the Governor warned that new measures to combat the pandemic spread will be announced “in the next few days” — compounding restrictions that have been in place, with varying levels of severity, since Inslee declared a state of health emergency in March.

Washington has seen explosive growth of COVID-19 statewide in just the last two weeks, at rate of more than 1,000 new cases a day, and hospitals are preparing for a potential flood of coronavirus patients.

“This year it’s just too dangerous to gather together indoors, where the virus can spread so easily,” Inslee said in a televised address.

New executive measures would have the goal of reducing how often people come into contact with people from outside their households, and preventing health care systems from being overwhelmed.

But Inslee pointed to advances in therapeutic treatments for COVID sufferers, and to the potential for a vaccine in the new year or earlier

“This year, our family will celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we’ll do it virtually,” the Governor said. “But here’s some good news: We’re only going to have to do this once.”

Inslee said Washington remains in a better position than most other states, but those gains could be reversed by exponential growth in COVID-19 spread.