In the past week, Gov. Inslee released a new proclamation, and amended an already-existing one, to enhance existing COVID-19 protective measures under his State of Emergency powers.
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Inslee amended the Washington Ready order on Sept. 3, originally issued in February 2020. The amendment concerns the mask mandate, stating:
“The Washington Ready order was amended to prohibit local government agencies, officials, and authorities and landlords from preventing or prohibiting any person or business or other entity in their jurisdictions and tenants in their properties, respectively, from imposing face covering requirements on or requiring proof of vaccination from any worker, customer, or other person.”
The amendment also prohibits these entities from taking adverse action against any other entity for imposing face covering requirements or requiring proof of vaccination.
Inslee also issued a new proclamation on Sept. 3 in response to the increased spread of the Delta variant in nursing homes. The proclamation “suspends and waives certain statutes in order to allow nursing homes to transfer or discharge residents to other long-term care facilities,” serving as a safety measure to protect COVID-negative residents from coming into contact with COVID-positive residents.
According to Seattle and King County Public Health, 50% of all COVID-related deaths in King County are affiliated with long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. This comes largely as a result of unvaccinated older adults, especially those with disabilities and/or pre-existing conditions, who live in long-term care facilities being at a significantly higher risk for serious illness associated with COVID-19 and death.
As of Aug. 30, COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities represent 4% of total cases in the state and 42% of total deaths.
Inslee intends for this proclamation to aid in efforts to protect a subset of the state population that is most vulnerable to COVID-19.