Inslee announces COVID-19 state of emergency will end Oct. 31
Gov. Jay Inslee has announced all remaining COVID-19 emergency proclamations and the state of emergency will be lifted by Oct. 31.
“We’ve come a long way the past two years in developing the tools that allow us to adapt and live with COVID-19,” Inslee said in a press release.
Public health officials continue to recommend vaccines and masks to prevent community spread. Earlier this week, King County Public Health Officer Jeff Duchin urged people to get a new COVID-19 booster and also consider a flu shot.
Inslee said at a press conference today he had received his own booster shot earlier in the day. He also expressed gratitude to health care and frontline workers ongoing role in the response to COVID-19.
The number of new COVID-19 cases per day in King County is less than 100, down from a peak of more than 2,100 new cases per day in January. The community level rating, which factors in new cases and hospital capacity, is at “low.”
COVID-19 remains a deadly virus, over the past week, the U.S. has averaged 342 deaths a day, according to CDC data. It is the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer.
“Governor Inslee’s rescission of these remaining emergency orders marks an important transition for the state of Washington, but that does not mean that COVID-19 is not in our state anymore,” said Washington Secretary of Health Umair Shah, in the release.
Shah also said Washington residents would continue to have access to the state’s COVID test program, WA Notify alerts and its Care-A-Van mobile vaccine clinic. The federal government stoppedsending Americans free COVID test kits in September due to lack of funding.
The governor’s announcement does not mean all COVID-19 related measures will end. The state Department of Health’s face covering requirement will remain in place for health care and long-term care settings. It may also be required in correctional facilities if that county has a medium or high COVID-19 community level rating.
Some employee vaccination requirements will end but employers may require them if they choose. Vaccination will continue to be required for state employees but through an executive directive issuedby the governor last month, not through an emergency order.