State surpasses 2,000 COVID-19 deaths

(STAFF REPORTS/Centralia Chronicle)

During a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee addressed most recent data on the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the prior day Washington had surpassed 2,000 deaths of those with COVID-19, with more than 80,000 confirmed cases of the disease in the state.

Inslee mentioned he had a “productive” meeting in Pullman with Washington State University communities last week to discuss ways to avoid a spike in COVID-19 like the college town saw where the governor said some 800 cases were confirmed following the return of students to campus.

Inslee said there would be continuing discussions statewide in other college towns to address ways to avoid similar spikes in cases as students return, including enforcement action.

“We just cannot abandon our gains that we have had,” Inslee said regarding the state’s COVID-19 response. He said recent data from the Institute for Disease Modeling indicated a potential rise in the reproductive rate of new cases in the state, though there had been more positive signs, as Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman said that counties in Central Washington were seeing drops in infection rates. 

Both Inslee and Wiesman stressed the need for returning students to host social gatherings which both said had contributed to the spike in cases.

“What we’re seeing is that the frontlines on this battle against this pandemic are moving,” Inslee said, with spread in living rooms and dormitories now the hotspots of transmission.