Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced on Sunday a 4-week statewide shutdown, citing an “alarming” rise in COVID-19 cases.

The governor spent very little time addressing hospitalization and death rates, which are not rising at the same rates as confirmed COVID-19 cases.

On Saturday, Washington State confirmed 2,286 new cases of COVID-19, a new record for the state. Experts estimate that numbers for Sunday will surpass that record.

Inslee called November 15th “the most dangerous public health day in our state’s history in 100 years”:

But hospitalization occupation remains far below the 10% capacity goal for COVID-19, and the overall 80% capacity of all hospitalizations. And daily deaths have remained relatively stabledespite a dramatic rise in confirmed cases.

Of 14,540 total licensed beds, there are 659 beds occupied by suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Nevertheless, Inslee told the state in his 11 AM announcement, “We are today in a more dangerous position than we were in March when our first stay at home order was issued.”

Inslee especially warned state residents against Thanksgiving gatherings, calling private home gatherings that mix members of several different households among the most dangerous of settings for the transmission of the virus.

Restrictions will take effect on Tuesday at 12:01 AM, lasting four weeks, ending December 14th. The restrictions include the following:

-All indoor social gatherings with anyone outside your own household are prohibited.

-Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 5 people outside one’s own household.

-Indoor services are closed for restaurants and bars, and outdoor seating is limited to a maximum of 5 people

-Indoor operations for fitness facilities and gyms are closed. Outdoor activities are permitted with a maximum of 5 people.

-Grocery stores and other in-store retail are limited to 25% indoor occupancy. All seating areas are closed.

-Religious services are limited to 25% indoor occupancy or 200 people (whichever is less). Choirs, bands, ensemble performances, and congregational singing are prohibited. Face masks are mandatory.

On Thursday, Governor Inslee and his wife addressed the state through a television announcement, telling residents that “it’s just too dangerous to gather indoors” this Thanksgiving.

With many states enacting another round of shutdowns ahead of the holidays, a recent Ohio State University report found that 2 in 5 Americans plan to attend large gatherings, and nearly a third will not be requesting that guests wear masks.

Caitlin Bassett

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