Carmine Sabia| Opinion| Democrat governors are getting drunk with power and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is taking it to the extreme.
Not only does the Democrat want to do what his fellow Democrat governors are doing and keep his lockdown going, he wants to tell citizens who is allowed to leave their homes.
“[The statewide contact tracing initiative] is robust, it is vigorous and it is comprehensive, and it needs to be all three to be successful,” the governor said.
“If we do not succeed in this second stage of our efforts, this virus could come bright back and bite us,” he said.
He said that social distancing was the first tool they used against coronavirus but, he said, contact tracing and isolation will be the next weapons.
“If this is successful, it will allow us to open our economy,” he said. “This next stage… actually will be more difficult, and its success will depend on both the state and local public health officials and families who will need to be committed to this effort to help their community.”
But it was one reporter’s question during the press conference that was the most frightening in terms of totalitarian control.
“When it comes to contact tracing, how are you guys going to handle people or families who want to refuse to test or to self isolate?” the reporter said.
“If they want to leave their home to get groceries I know you’ve said they can’t do that; how will you make sure they don’t?“ he said.
“We will have attached to the families a family support person who will check in with them to see what they need on a daily basis… and help them,” the governor said.
“If they can’t get a friend to do their grocery shopping, we will help get them groceries in some fashion. If they need pharmaceuticals to be picked up, we will make sure they get their pharmaceuticals… That’s going to help encourage them to maintain their isolation too.
“As far as refusal, it just shouldn’t come to that, and it really hasn’t. We’ve had really good success when we ask people to isolate, and they’ve done so in really high percentages, so we’re happy about that, and we believe that will continue,” he said.
The Lynwood Times explained the contract tracing plan.
This effort will be a partnership between local health districts and the Washington State Department of health. Individuals should quarantine immediately upon first symptoms and stay quarantined until receiving a negative test result.
Those who test positive will need to isolate for 14 days; that includes everyone who lives in the household. An interviewer will call those who test positive for COVID-19 to identify and inform close contacts of potential exposure.
Inslee also spent time talking about the privacy measures related to contact tracing. Individuals’ data will only be accessible to public health professionals; it will not be shared with anyone else. Contacts will not be told the name of the person who may have exposed them to COVID-19.
By the end of the week, Inslee said the state will have 1,371 contact tracers trained and ready; 351 of those will be national guard, 390 will be Department of Licensing and 630 will be State/Local health professionals.
Contact tracers will not ask for the following information: immigration status, social security number, financial info or marital status.