With days until it expires, extension of Washington's ‘Stay Home’ mandate imminent

Olympia – There is little doubt that Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order will be extended in some form past May 4, but questions remain about whether any of its restrictions will be loosened and when Governor Jay Inslee will make the extension official.

On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, the governor’s chief of staff said the announcement was likely to come by the end of the week.

“We hope we will be able to tell you what the date of the extension will be by the end of this week, but I’m not 100 percent sure we will do that,” said Chief of Staff David Postman.

In a televised address on April 21, Governor Inslee made it clear that many of the restrictions Washingtonians are currently under will remain in place past May 4.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) out of the University of Washingtonian, a source Governor Inslee’s office has leaned on for guidance, suggested that the state should extend current social distancing measures through the end of May.

Dr. Kathy Lofy, Washington's chief health officer, told reporters Tuesday that the state is relying on a variety of data and metrics to decide how long the order should remain in place.

“We definitely are paying attention to this advice that’s being put out by different modeling groups and different public health experts,” she said. “I wouldn’t say that we have committed to any of these criteria at this time. I think we’re taking more of the approach of weighing the data every week and building capacity to do more testing and robust contact tracing investigations.”

The state’s original “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” mandate was announced March 23. Just days before it was set to expire on April 6, Governor Inslee extended it to May 4.