By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

On Wednesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee ordered the prohibition of gatherings of more than 250 people in King County and some other western Washington counties.

Jay Inslee Public domain image/COP PARIS via wikimedia commons

Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County issued a parallel local Health Officer Order for King County to prohibit gatherings of more than 250 people.

In addition, he ordered the prohibition of gatherings of fewer than 250 people unless measures are taken by event organizers to minimize risk.

Under this local health officer Order, an “event” is defined as a public gathering for business, social, or recreational activities including, but not limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; conventions; fundraisers; and similar activities, unless event organizers take steps to minimize risk. Specifically, organizers of events of fewer than 250 people must ensure that:

  • Older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions that are at increased risk of serious COVID-19 are encouraged not to attend (including employees);
  • Social distancing recommendations must be met (i.e., limit contact of people within 6 feet from each other for 10 minutes or longer);
  • Employees must be screened for coronavirus symptoms each day and excluded if symptomatic;
  • Proper hand hygiene and sanitation must be readily available to all attendees and employees; and
  • Environmental cleaning guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are followed (e.g., clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily or more frequently).

At this time, retail businesses and service operators such as grocery stores, drug stores, movie theaters, restaurants, other retail establishments may continue to provide services as long as they take steps to minimize the spread of disease.

The current numbers in Washington State are as follows: 366 cases and 29 deaths, of which, King County accounts for 234 cases and 26 deaths (22 are associated with Life Care Center).