King County Executive Dow Constantine released the following statement after Public Health Seattle & King County announced new actions to fight the COVID-19 outbreak:
“The state, and the counties, and cities arrived – with the guidance of public health officials – at what we believe is the best set of steps to try to slow the spread of the virus at this time.
Gov. Inslee has ordered the prohibition of gatherings of more than 250 people. In addition, we also agreed that gatherings smaller than that should not happen unless very clear Public Health-recommended steps are taken.
Our Public Health Officer, Dr. Jeff Duchin, will be signing an order that prohibits smaller events of 250 people or less in King County, unless they meet public health guidelines to ensure social distancing, adequate sanitation, regular health checks of employees, and other measures designed to prevent the virus from being transmitted.
The criteria included in Dr. Duchin’s order is shown to dramatically reduce the transmission of disease and keep people safe.
This is the core critical challenge: to delay the spread of disease, to reduce the peak number of people infected, in order not to exceed the capacity of the health care system.
By preserving the limited capacity of the county’s healthcare system, temporarily banning social and recreational gatherings will help ensure that a health crisis does not become a humanitarian disaster.
We are seeking a targeted approach that still recognizes that we can be safe and business can and must continue. Restaurants, retail, music, arts, culture, movie theaters, can and should continue, if they are able to meet these criteria.
Epidemiologists tell us that, left unmitigated, the number of people with this infection roughly doubles every five to seven days. And possibly quicker during this period in the disease’s evolution.
That fact underscores the urgency with which we are implementing these community mitigation measures as well as purchasing, siting, and setting up places for people to recover and to isolate themselves so that they don’t inadvertently infect their families or others in the community.
We must take time to be sure we get this right, but we must also act with urgency, and leave no one behind.”