‘We need to rethink the holidays.’ Inslee addresses state as coronavirus cases spike

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudi Inslee, gave a televised update on Thursday evening on the coronavirus pandemic, which health officials have warned is accelerating rapidly throughout the state.

The governor’s remarks came just two days after state and county health officials warned of a spike in infections and pleaded with the public to take the pandemic more seriously as they head into the winter holidays.

On Tuesday, state health officer, Kathy Lofy, said infections have increased steadily since September, with the most dramatic spikes occurring in the past two weeks.

She said cases are rising among all age groups, indicating that transmission is widespread.

During the address, the governor talked about what is being called the “third wave” of COVID-19 and the protections families can take heading into the holidays.

“Simply put, we have to rethink the holidays so that we may be thankful when we don’t lose more lives to COVID,” he said.

Gov. Jay Inslee went on to say that his family was going to put a pause on some Thanksgiving celebrations, such as a touch football game with family and friends and a “potluck meal.”

“This is a unique Thanksgiving and holiday season. We’re thankful that more therapeutics are on the way, as is the imminent arrival of a vaccine. There is a lot more at our disposal to fight this virus than there was when the pandemic began. We are optimistic that Thanksgiving 2021 will be the best ever,” Inslee said. “But this year, it’s just too dangerous to gather indoors, where the virus can spread so easily.” No new COVID-19 restrictions were announced, but Inslee told the public that such measures are actively under consideration. The governor plans to announce early next week his decision on what steps will be taken.

The governor asked Washingtonians to change their holiday plans and asked everyone to do it as an “act of love” for others. “We love each other too much to put each other’s health at risk. Unfortunately, anyone can get COVID, even if they think they’re doing the right thing,” the governor said.

And the governor stressed that people should not gather with others outside their household and said, “It’s too dangerous.”

Inslee also said that Washingtonians have done a good job already by masking up, and businesses have found ways to adapt to the health restrictions, which have helped put the state in a better position than “the vast majority of the country ... for now.”

No new COVID-19 restrictions were announced, but Inslee told the public that in a few days, he will announce further measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

“These decisions will affect what we do outside of the home. But what’s most urgent right now is what we do in our own dwellings,” he said.

Inslee said Thursday evening, “We have a simple request from our family to yours: Do not have Thanksgiving gatherings unless you are positive that everyone there has quarantined successfully for 14 days, starting today. Otherwise, every social gathering is just one more brick in a wall of infection.”

Watch Gov. Inslee and Trudi entire address to the public below: