Gov. Jay Inslee during a Oct. 6 news conference. Inslee will deliver a televised address about the state’s response to COVID-19 at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12. (Screenshot)

Gov. Jay Inslee during a Oct. 6 news conference. Inslee will deliver a televised address about the state’s response to COVID-19 at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12. (Screenshot)

Inslee to discuss pandemic response in primetime TV address | Update

The governor will not announce new restrictions, but he might soon if spread of the virus cannot be slowed.

Gov. Jay Inslee will deliver an evening address Thursday, Nov. 12 to urge Washington residents to hunker down in the battle against coronavirus and to warn that restrictions could come as early as next week if we cannot blunt a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

The speech, set to begin at 5:30 p.m., will be delivered from the governor’s private office at the Capitol in Olympia. It will be broadcast and streamed live online by TVW.

The governor, who will be joined by his wife, Trudi, will not announce any new COVID-19 restrictions, but he will make clear that they are under consideration and could be announced as early as Monday, his office said.

“This is an opportunity for the governor to directly address Washingtonians to give the latest updates on the state’s response to COVID-19,” according to the announcement from his office.

Inslee will call on residents to immediately change plans for Thanksgiving gatherings and holiday travel, his staff said. He’ll also emphasize how crucial it will be to curb social gatherings in the next few weeks to help contain the virus and slow infections.

The address comes two days after state and local health experts warned that a recent surge in new cases and hospitalizations threatens to overwhelm the capacity of hospitals throughout Washington.

New cases of the coronavirus are greatly surpassing previous record highs across the state, while hospitalizations are also increasing. Officials warned that if the situation doesn’t improve, they could be forced to re-impose some restrictions on businesses and social gatherings so the health care system is not overwhelmed with sick people.

On Thursday, members of Inslee’s staff were to meet with leaders of King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, as well as larger cities in those counties, to discuss possible future action. Public health officers from around the state were also meeting separately on what steps to take amid an explosion of new cases.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; Twitter: @dospueblos.

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