Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter Monday morning to the Trump administration requesting an extension of federal authority and funding for Washington National Guard employment in support of COVID-19 pandemic emergency response operations through December 31, 2020.
In part, the letter reads:
"As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to climb in our state, it is clear that help from the Washington National Guard remains essential through the end of the year... Currently, more than 1,000 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen are assisting with critical missions that keep our food banks operational and our neighbors fed. They are critical to our efforts to slow the spread of the virus by supporting COVID-mapping missions, assembling test kits, and operating community-based test sites. Additionally, uniquely skilled National Guard planners are assisting my COVID-19 food security team and other state agencies to ensure that we meet the health and welfare needs of Washingtonians through our phased re-opening plan."
To date, the Washington National Guard has delivered more than 1.3 million meals or 33.5 million pounds of food to struggling families at food banks across the state, tested over 14,000 people at community-based testing sites, and built more than 150,000 test kits.
State COVID-19 Update
There were 1,438 new COVID-19 cases in Washington and 14 more deaths through 11:59 pm Saturday according to Washington health officials. The state Department of Health's (DOH) data system was shut down for maintenance on Saturday. The update brings the state's totals to 40,656 cases and 1,438 deaths, meaning about 3.5 percent of people diagnosed in Washington have died. There have been 686,005 tests for coronavirus in the state, and 5.9 percent have come back positive since testing began. Overall deaths are concentrated in King County, where DOH has confirmed 11,866 diagnoses and 637 deaths.
Safe Start Extension
Last Tuesday (July 7), Inslee announced the extension of the Safe Start proclamation through August 6. This extension clarifies the interaction between Safe Start and Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman's facial coverings order. It includes:
A statewide extension of the Yakima County business prohibition on serving customers without face coverings: No business may operate, allow a customer to enter a business, or conduct in-person business with a customer in any public setting unless the customer is wearing a face covering or meets at least one of the exceptions outlined in Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03;
Individuals are prohibited from entering a place of business without wearing a face covering (again, per Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03); and
Employers must notify the employer's local health jurisdiction within 24 hours if the employer suspects COVID-19 is spreading in the employer's workplace, or if the employer is aware of two or more employees who develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period.
The governor also announced additional clarification for restaurants and taverns in Phases 2 and 3. This comes as more counties move forward under Washington's Safe start recovery plan.