Gov. could extend stay-at-home order later this week

western states pact

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s chief of staff David Postman said Tuesday that Inslee could announce an extension of the state’s COVID-19-related stay-at-home order later this week. The order is scheduled to continue through May 4 although Inslee has said portions of it would be extended.

“We’re certainly going to try to share that as soon as we can,” Postman said during a news conference.

Inslee in early April extended orders to keep non-essential businesses closed and most of the state’s more than 7 million residents home through May 4, saying social distancing measures needed to continue to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Inslee since then has announced the easing of some restrictions.

The Washington Department of Health on Tuesday reported 21 additional deaths from the virus, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to at least 786. The agency also reported 156 more people had tested positive, increasing the number of confirmed cases to more than 13,840.

Officials from Public Health – Seattle & King County said Tuesday that cases in county homeless shelters and supportive housing sites for people who were previously homeless continue to increase, The Seattle Times reported. There have been 173 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 36 county homeless shelters or supportive housing sites for people who were previously homeless, health officials said. The number includes positive cases among staff.

The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, and the vast majority recover. But it is highly contagious and can be spread by those who appear healthy and can cause severe illness and death in some patients, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.