OLYMPIA – Gov. Ayse Insley on Thursday warned of “strong evidence” of a possible fourth wave of COVID-19 in Washington, D.C.
Speaking at his first press conference outside the governor’s residence in Olympia in more than a year, Insley noted that the number of cases is growing daily to more than 1,000. That increased, he said, to 700 a day in February.
“Unfortunately, there is serious evidence of the possible development of the fourth wave in Washington state,” said Insley, who wore a mask similar to those gathered on Thursday. “We can not, we will not wait until the wave will swallow us.”
Standing in front of a poster on which was written: “Get out,” the governor urged people to communicate and stay outside while working.
“Just take it outside, hold your meeting outside, because it is safer to be outside,” the governor said, adding later, “Take it out, keep your district open, save yourself, enjoy yourself from the outside.”
Even with the increase in cases, Thursday marked a new milestone in the long slogan of the epidemic. 16-year-olds in Washington are eligible for the vaccine.
Health officials now distribute an average of 62,000 doses of the vaccine a day in the state, said Lacey Ferenbach, assistant secretary of state for health.
At the same time, hours are being extended at five mass vaccination sites in Washington, D.C., Insly says, “until the evening and weekends so that working people do not have to take time off work.”
As COVID-19 cases increase in Washington, last week Inslee ordered three counties – Pierce, Cowlitz and Whitman – to tighten restrictions. The move was criticized by Republicans, who begged Inslee to ease the epidemic restrictions.
If hospitalizations continue to rise, more districts may be tightened in May with tighter protocols, such as the return of 25% of the capacity of indoor fitness centers and cafeterias.