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Gov. Jay Inslee Discusses Washington's Reopening Plans

<p>There is currently no vaccine to prevent contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.</p>

There is currently no vaccine to prevent contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

UPDATE (April 15, 8:49 p.m. PT) — Oregon state and local health officials reported 33 new known coronavirus cases Wednesday. There are now 1,663 confirmed cases in Oregon.

Oregon officials also reported three new coronavirus-related deaths Wednesday.

There have been 58 known coronavirus-related deaths in the state.

The Oregon Health Authority reported the three deaths as:

An 82-year-old man in Marion County, who tested positive on April 3 and died on April 10 at Santiam Hospital. He had underlying medical conditions.

An 84-year-old woman in Multnomah County, who tested positive on March 30 and died on April 12 at Adventist Medical Center. She had underlying medical conditions.

A 92-year-old woman in Multnomah County, who tested positive on April 9 and died on April 12 at her residence. She had underlying medical conditions.

Washington has more than 500 deaths

Clark County Public Health said Wednesday that there are eight new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Southwest Washington. There are now 258 confirmed cases there.

To date, 15 people in Clark County are known to have died from COVID-19.

The latest available data from the Washington Department of Health indicated the state had diagnosed 10,783 coronavirus cases and had confirmed 567 related deaths.

Inslee's 'monitor and adapt' approach to reopening

Washington state officials, including Gov. Jay Inslee, are beginning to talk more openly about easing social distancing restrictions and reopening the economy.

Inslee's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order is set to expire on May 4. Next month could bring a transition to the "second phase" of the state's response to the global pandemic, the governor said in an interview with the Northwest News Network. Though, he cautioned, “we’re not out of the woods yet.”

In this second phase, Inslee envisions a step-by-step relaxing of social distancing orders and allowing some non-essential businesses to reopen — and then watching to see if the virus kicks up again. Inslee described this approach as “monitor and adapt.”

But before any of the existing restrictions are lifted, state and local public health officials will want to see a sustained decline in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

“I think we will kind of do a reverse of what we did going into it,” Inslee said. As the public health crisis mounted, Inslee first limited crowd sizes, then closed schools and then issued a statewide “stay home” order.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday outlined what needs to happen before the state will open for business. In part, she wants to ensure the state has a robust testing, tracing and isolation strategy, and she needs to feel confident the state has enough hospital beds to treat any surge of COVID-19 cases.

Postcard from the pandemic

Forced apart by the pandemic, a Portland family reinvents the Passover Seder — bringing relatives together from across the country and creating a night truly “different from all other nights.”

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

OPB Staff
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