FEDERAL WAY, WASH. — On Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee met with politicians, health officials, nonprofit organizations and businesses to discuss the state’s COVID-19 response and recovery plan.
“This is a place where the American dream is realized, where people come from all around the world to start new lives,” said Inslee, who grew up in White Center, about his decision to meet in South King County.
At a news conference held at Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center, Inslee shared the concerns of the local business community and the potential of having to curtail their companies’ operations.
While not an official announcement, Inslee said that he hoped to help undocumented immigrants, particularly people who test positive with COVID-19, so that they will be encouraged to stay home and recover instead of going to work. He also discussed the possibility of additional monetary assistance for businesses, though he could not make any guarantees.
“Please be healthy, please wash your hands,” Inslee said at the meeting’s conclusion.
Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell told members of the media that if the COVID-19 cases continue to climb, he will request that Inslee call a special meeting of the state Legislature for more state-funded assistance for businesses and organizations. In the past week, Federal Way had seen a spike in reported COVID-19 cases.
“More resources are going to be necessary if more of a shutdown occurs,” Ferrell said.
Friday’s news conference came as state health officials confirmed 754 new COVID-19 cases in Washington on Friday, including seven new deaths. On Thursday, the state reported a single-day record of 1,267 new cases.
According to the state Department of Health, as of 11:59 p.m. Thursday, 45,067 cases have been identified in the state. Out of the people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Washington, 1,434 people have died, or 3.2%.
Nationwide, states have seen an uptick of cases, many of them among younger populations.
Texas, Arizona and Florida have had record-breaking daily reported cases. And in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp has filed a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and members of the Atlanta City Council over Bottoms’ mandate on wearing face coverings.
In Washington, Inslee earlier this week put a halt to any counties advancing through the four recovery phases.
The state could soon reimpose restrictions on bars, restaurants and recreational activities, Inslee said Thursday during a news conference. Officials could ultimately take even more drastic measures.
“We cannot rule out the potential of another stay-home order this year,” the governor said.