Washington Health Officials Say There's Reason For Optimism If People Follow Guidelines

Nov 18, 2020

Dr. Elizabeth Wako says her Seattle hospital is now caring for three times the number of Covid patients as it did on Halloween.
Credit TVW screenshot

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and others are counseling residents to reduce the size of their Thanksgiving celebrations.

If enough people take that to heart, state health officials, such as Health Officer Kathy Lofy, say it looks like Washington should bend its Covid curve back down.

Lofy says her agency’s data modelers have forecast the potential effects.

“If the November 16 restrictions that the governor recently announced are successful, or are as successful as they were back in March, we can reverse this trend and follow the course that is shown on the blue line," Lofy said.

That blue line shows a significant decrease in cases within a few weeks. Conversely, she says, if the restrictions are not followed, Washington can expect to see continued increases in the number of Covid-related hospitalizations.

That’s the trend at hospitals around the state. Dr. Elizabeth Wako from the Swedish health care system in Seattle says her hospital admitted 10 Covid patients in a five-hour period Wednesday.

“Obviously, continue to mask, continue handwashing, but social distancing appears to be where people have the most difficulty. As Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching, I want to reiterate restrictions around indoor gathering. Outside of one’s household, do not have people over for Thanksgiving. I cannot overemphasize enough how important this is to keep our numbers down and ensure capacity in our hospitals," she said.

Health Secretary John Wiesman says it’s too early to look ahead, but he says if enough people follow the current guidelines, then there’s a chance the social outlook for Christmas might be more jolly.