Gov. Inslee says contact tracing, more testing are key to reopening economy

SPOKANE, Wash.– Washington’s stay -home order isn’t set to expire until May 4, but a lot of people are anxious to know when life can get back to normal.

“That depends on our ability to do much larger scale and much more robust and immediate contact tracing,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

More testing and contact tracing gives us a better idea of who has the virus. For example, contact tracing tracks down everyone who has been in contact with an infected person. Then, an antibody test can tell us if a person is developing any kind of immunity to COVID-19.

But, Governor Inslee said all types of tests will be useful going forward.

“You’ve got to understand the antibody test doesn’t really say whether you have the disease or not, and if you could potentially be transmitting the disease, so one (test) doesn’t totally supplant the other,” Inslee said.

The FDA has only approved the antibody test for research purposes right now.

Inslee also said parts of Washington are flattening the curve, but a second wave is always possible.

Some parts of the state are still seeing a rise in cases and deaths. Spokane County cases are still going up, too. And even though those numbers are slowing down, Inslee isn’t rushing anything.

“Over time this is going to come back in our state big time if we were to release our social distancing today,” Inslee said.

Inslee said it’s easy for us to lose patience right now, but staying home really is saving lives, so how much longer do we have to do it?

“For a few more weeks, maybe a little longer than that, so we can then get to the second phases of this which is the army of contact tracers,” Inslee said.