Wuhan Virus Outbreak Forces WA State Gov. Inslee to Announce New Restrictions

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Posted: Mar 11, 2020 12:55 AM
Wuhan Virus Outbreak Forces WA State Gov. Inslee to Announce New Restrictions

Source: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) will announce new restrictions on Wednesday to help curb the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus. The governor will ban gatherings of more than 250 people in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, a source familiar with the situation told the Seattle Times. Those counties alone are home to more than 4 million people in the Evergreen State but they are also the epicenter of the state's Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak.

The restrictions will apply to large public gatherings, like sporting events, concerts and cultural events. 

According to Chris Reykdal, Washington’s superintendent of public instruction, he does not anticipate Inslee's restrictions to impact public schools in the greater Seattle area.

“We don’t have any indication at all that he’s closing schools tomorrow,” Reykdal told the Times.

Schools across the state have already canceled field trips, assemblies and large events. Some institutions have even closed. 

Inslee's announcement comes as the Seattle Mariners prepare to start their season on March 26. The team is scheduled to play the Texas Rangers at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. 

The Mariners are currently undergoing spring training in Arizona. Major League Baseball sources told the Times a contingency plan, which includes playing their home stand in Arizona, are underway. The Mariners' home stand includes four games against the Texas Rangers and three against the Minnesota Twins.

The University of Washington's softball team has a home game against the U.S. national team scheduled for Thursday night. The Seattle Dragons XFL team is scheduled to play the Los Angeles Wildcats at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.

The Mariners' vice president of communications, Tim Hevly, and the Dragons' declined to comment until after Inslee's press conference on Wednesday.

According to the Times, the Dragons' last home game, on Feb. 22, had more than 22,000 people. One of the stadium workers at that came tested positive for the Wuhan Coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Inslee announced restrictions on nursing homes and assisted living facilities that will remain in effect until Apr. 9, 2020:

  • Visitors must be adults and the visit must take place in the resident’s room. This does not apply to end-of-life situations.
  • All visitors must follow COVID-19 screening and follow reasonable precautionary measures. Precautionary measures include, but are not limited to, wearing personal protective equipment, social distancing, or visiting in designated locations.
  • All visitors must sign into a visitor’s log. Owners and operators must retain that log for 30 days.
  • Employees or volunteers must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at the start of each shift.
  • People who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities and who test positive for COVID-19 must be isolated away from other people.
  • Owners, operators, staff and volunteers are prohibited from disclosing protected and confidential health information, except as otherwise provided by law or with the resident’s consent.

The governor's restrictions on nursing homes and assisted living facilities comes after the Life Care Center in Kirkland had 31 positive cases of the Wuhan Coronavirus. One test result came back negative and three more came back inconclusive, KCPQ-TV reported.