PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — “What we have done so far is not enough,” Washington governor Jay Inslee said in a briefing Wednesday.
Inslee gave an update on his state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic less than 24 hours after Washington’s Health Department reported a backlog in test results. Inslee called on not only the federal government to step up its efforts, but also for local businesses to consider shifting operations temporarily to produce personal protective equipment (PPE). He emphasized how frontline workers deserve to be protected during this crisis.
“It is up to us to do everything that is humanly possible to get them this life-saving equipment,” the governor said. “The fact of the matter is, we need to seize our own destiny. We need to now do what we did in World War II,” said Inslee, referring to how private businesses across Washington shifted their production to aid the country during wartime.
Inslee called on local businesses to start making surgical masks, swab test kits, viles, face shields, gloves and gowns.
“I’m here today to ask all business people, all leaders, all skilled workers, to ask themselves if they can join this effort,” he said. “Ask themselves if they can change what [they’re] making now. If you’re making plastic parts of any nature today, we ask that you ask yourself if you can make face shields? If you’re making any cloth-related product, we want you to ask yourself can you make surgical masks as fast as you can?”
While acknowledging the request disrupts an existing supply line for a business, the governor said those who can step up and chose to do so are soldiers in the fight against the coronavirus.
Washington remains one of the centers of the coronavirus pandemic and Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to ask manufacturers to step up to provide personal protective equipment.
Inslee will hold a 2 p.m. press conference by video and phone to talk about the state’s ongoing response to the outbreak. The governor will also talk about the need for other supplies in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.
KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the day.
The Department of Health in Washington issued a statement Tuesday stating its tool for tracking results has been overwhelmed with COVID-19 tests.
As a result, the backlog in results has delayed the report of new cases.
The agency uses the Washington Disease Reporting System (WDRS) for recording and reporting data pertaining to tests. Outside of a pandemic, the WDRS only reports positive results, according to state officials. Because the COVID-19 outbreak has been deemed a pandemic, the tool is now forced to track negative results as well.
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