Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It’s hard to believe that it has been five weeks now since the 2020 session ended and everyday life as we know it continues to be dramatically altered because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Absolutely unprecedented for a free society. While I was driving home from Olympia, the governor instituted emergency orders to shut down schools, and then very quickly, businesses. I initially agreed with his and the president’s precautionary measures – at that time we knew so little about the virus; what the symptoms were, how the virus spread and how many people who were infected would ultimately require hospitalization.
Upon returning home, my focus immediately turned to helping individuals, families, first responders, healthcare providers and businesses in the 7th District. My days were also filled with briefings and inquiries at the local, state and national levels with the latest information and to share with these leaders the needs of our communities. Additionally, I have spent many hours inquiring with local, state and national experts (both to learn and to provide oversight) about the available data (or lack thereof), trends and ultimately the “metrics” our governor needs to see to relax or remove his orders.
Just as importantly, I have been fighting for a more balanced approach that supports the economic and physical health of our families and our communities. I am pushing that the state Department of Health share daily hospital data because I believe it is a concrete metric for how the virus is currently affecting people. Broad-scale antibody testing also a critical component in that it will be the most valuable, comprehensive way to determine more broadly the virus’ impact in our state. I am frustrated that this continues to be a lower priority of our governor’s administration. The storm I see brewing is that the governor and our state Department of Health ignore the progress we’ve made in reducing the virus risk and preventing our hospitals from being overwhelmed by continuing to insist that “zero risk” goals be met. While small portions of the state continue to be challenged by the virus, much of the state has seen marked reductions in positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths – a trend that I hope continues. As a state, we have “bent the curve” and prevented our hospital capacity from being overwhelmed.