Inslee issues emergency proclamation that limits large events to minimize public health risk during COVID-19
Gov. Jay Inslee announced new community strategies and social distancing plans Wednesday at a news conference in Seattle to minimize COVID-19 exposure, particularly in counties hit hardest by the virus.
Starting today, events that take place in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties with more than 250 people are prohibited by the state. This order applies to gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational activities. These include but are not limited to: community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based, or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; conventions; fundraisers and similar activities.
“This is an unprecedented public health situation and we can’t wait until we’re in the middle of it to slow it down,” Inslee said. “We’ve got to get ahead of the curve. One main defense is to reduce the interaction of people in our lives.”
Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.
From King County:
Governor Jay Inslee and Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, have just announced new measures/directives to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our region.
The goals of these actions are to:
- Reduce the number of people infected and the number of deaths caused by COVID-19
- Minimize the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on communities
- Protect individuals at risk for severe illness, including older adults and people with underlying health conditions
The Governor’s proclamation applies to King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties.
In King County, the Health Officer Order applies until rescinded by the Health Officer.
In King County, it includes:
- Events with more than 250 attendees are prohibited.
- Events with fewer than 250 attendees are prohibited unless event organizers take steps to minimize risk. (More on this below)
Additional guidance related to schools, childcare, and retail establishments will be released later today.
This is guidance is just emerging and we want you to have this information as soon as possible. More details will be available today, following the Governor’s press conference, on our blog, www.publichealthinsider.com .
We understand that these recommendations have the potential to significantly impact the lives of people in the community, those you serve, and your organizations. We know they require considerable sacrifice. Thank you for supporting the community as these measures are put into place to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
Lastly, misinformation about the COVID 19 continues to create fear and hostility that is hurting many of our communities impacted by inequities, particularly our Chinese and other Asian and Pacific Islander communities and unsheltered neighbors. COVID 19 does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, nationality, language, nor economic situation. We are stronger together, particularly in slowing down the spread COVID 19 and promoting our collective health and well-being.
Please stay informed as information changes frequently. Check and subscribe to Public Health’s website (www.kingcounty.gov/COVID) or blog (www.publichealthinsider.com).
Under an order from Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin, Public Health now prohibits large gatherings of more than 250 people. In addition, public events with fewer than 250 attendees are prohibited, unless event organizers can take steps to minimize risk. The steps listed below include some concrete things for you to think through to support your decision-making.
Event organizers must ensure that:
- Older and vulnerable individuals have been encouraged not to attend
- This includes staff, volunteers, and people you serve – will this impact ability to offer services?
- What is your communication plan and how will it reach people whose first language is not English?
- Recommendations for social distancing and limiting close contact are met
- Can people be a full arms-length apart (6 feet is ideal)?
- Do you have verbal and written messages about not having interpersonal contact such as hugs and handshakes?
- Employees or volunteers leading an event are screened for symptoms each day
- Do you have a process to ensure each person is screened daily prior to arrival?
- Proper hand washing, sanitation, and cleaning is readily available
- Do you have enough handwashing stations and cleaning supplies?
- How are people getting verbal and written instructions about when and how to wash hands?
- Environmental cleaning guidelines are followed (e.g., clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily or more frequently)
- Is there a schedule to ensure high-touch surfaces are adequately cleaned?
We are working on more specific guidance, especially for faith-based organizations with less than 250 people. As we do so, your specific questions and concerns are helpful in making those guidelines actionable.
- More info on the new order: https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/03/11/new-limits-on-large-gatherings-other-emergency-strategies-to-slow-the-spread-of-covid-19/
- Our most up-to-date information: www.kingcounty.gov/covid