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Coronavirus In Seattle
caption: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to the media after the Legislature adjourned its 60-day session, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Olympia, Wash. State lawmakers passed a supplemental budget with funding for the state's response to COVID-19.
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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to the media after the Legislature adjourned its 60-day session, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Olympia, Wash. State lawmakers passed a supplemental budget with funding for the state's response to COVID-19.
Credit: (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

Prepare for an extension of Washington's stay-at-home order, Gov. Inslee says

A state order compelling Washingtonians to stay home unless they are partaking in essential work or life activities is now fully in effect until midnight on April 8.

But Gov. Jay Inslee says people should prepare to stay home for even longer, as officials work to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

Inslee said during a Thursday morning press conference that officials believe mandatory business and school closures have helped mitigate the rate of coronavirus infections, particularly in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties.

Despite this, he added, Washingtonians should expect to see an extension of the state's unprecedented stay-at-home order.

'Stay at home' to fight coronavirus decreed in Washington state after sunny weekend

"We cannot let up on this virus, even if we get to a point where there's continuation of reducing the rate of increase," Inslee said, adding that the goal is to see the number of COVID-19 cases drop on a weekly basis.

"But the fact is we have to, we have to hammer this until we can be assured that will not spring back up," he continued. "And so we will not be able to be confident that we can release some of our joint efforts in the state until we're very confident of that."

Inslee pointed to a need for expanded testing capacity amid the efforts to understand how COVID-19 is moving through Washington, and to evaluate the state's response.

"We need testing — pervasive testing — before we'll be able ... to return to normalcy in our state," he said.

More than 31,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted across Washington state so far, according to the governor. But state officials are calling on the federal government to help procure more testing materials.

Inslee also asserted that Washingtonians are not on lockdown under his stay-at-home order.

"You can leave your house for a walk, you can go for a drive, you can do things essential to your livelihood for these essential industries," he said. "We do want you to limit those activities in ways that make common sense, however."