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Washington State News

Washington’s COVID Emergency Declaration Still Lingering

(The Center Square) – Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak will end his COVID-19 state of emergency on May 20. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, however, has given no indication when he will stop governing under a pandemic-related emergency proclamation he issued more than two years ago.

“Emergency orders gave flexibility for the State to respond to challenges as they arose,” a Friday statement from the Nevada Office of the Governor read. “A number of measures – including portions of Emergency Directive 11, which waived certain licensing requirements to allow the State to bring additional health care workers into hospitals, and allow certain doctors, nurses, EMTs, and medical students to go to work under proper supervision to care for COVID-19 patients – are still in place, and the State is working with the appropriate partners as the emergency order ends.”

Nevada’s emergency declaration was first announced on March 12, 2020, when Sisolak ordered “non-essential” businesses to close.

Meanwhile, in Washington, a technical state of emergency is in place until further notice.

On Feb. 29, 2020, Inslee declared a statewide emergency in response to the spread of the virus via the Emergency Powers Act of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 43.06.220. Under the state of emergency, he issued scores of additional proclamations ranging from shelter-in-place orders to school closures to a moratorium on evictions to a vaccine mandate.

“What’s left of Washington’s order primarily helps make medical resources more readily available to fight COVID, addresses labor shortages in health care, and relieves some of the stress on our supply chain,” explained Mike Faulk, Inslee’s press secretary, in an email to The Center Square.

Washington’s eviction moratorium has since expired, students have returned to the classroom, and most mask mandates have been lifted.

“Two-thirds of the proclamations associated with this order have already been rescinded, but the governor will continue to appropriately use the statutes available to us in Washington state to handle the pandemic’s ongoing impacts,” Faulk said. “The latest metrics show cases and hospitalizations on the rise in Washington, doubling over the last month.”

According to the state Department of Health, there are currently 176 COVID cases per 100,000 people in Washington, with 5% of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients.