OLYMPIA — With coronavirus case counts rising exponentially in the state, Gov. Jay Inslee and wife Trudi urged Washingtonians to reconsider Thanksgiving and holiday plans in an address on Nov. 12, and said new restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of covid-19 will be announced in the coming days.
The governor’s address came on the heels of the Washington State Department of Health’s announcement of 3,345 newly confirmed cases of the virus in just the past two days, and as the United States collectively reported more than 150,000 new cases on Thursday alone — the most cases confirmed in a single day in the country since the pandemic began. Washington’s daily average of new covid-19 cases have doubled in just the past two weeks.
In his address, Inslee said the state is currently experiencing its third wave of covid-19, after the initial wave in the early spring and a second wave during the summer. With new cases surging throughout the state — including in Pacific County, which has seen nearly 40 new cases announced in just the past 10 days — Inslee implored Washingtonians to rethink traditional holiday outings, such as numerous households joining under one roof to celebrate Thanksgiving.
“We are optimistic that Thanksgiving 2021 will be the best ever, but this year it’s just too dangerous to gather together indoors, where the virus can spread so easily,” Inslee said.
Inslee said he and his extended family will celebrate Thanksgiving virtually this year. The good news, he said, is that this will only have to be done once, as coronavirus vaccines are expected to be made widely available sometime in early 2021. But, he said, it’s time to have “difficult but necessary conversations” with family members about altering holiday plans.
“So this year, when you join us in changing your Thanksgiving and December holiday plans, please know that you are doing it as an act of love for the people around you — and your entire community,” said Inslee. “We love each other too much to put each other’s health at risk … This year, please don’t gather with people outside of your household. It’s just too dangerous.”
Inslee also announced during the address that new restrictions meant to combat the spread of covid-19 will be announced “in the next few days.” But these new restrictions, he said, are less urgent than scrapping typical holiday and social plans, unless you can assure that everyone participating has successfully quarantined for at least 14 days.
“We’re all fatigued, and it’s OK to not feel OK right now,” said Trudi Inslee. “But what happens next in our state depends on what happens in our families and in our homes.”