SPOKANE, Wash. - During his visit to Spokane, Governor Jay Inslee said that the county was standing on the edge of a cliff when it comes to rising COVID-19 numbers.
After meeting with local health leaders to learn more about the state of the area's virus response, he said that Spokane was "right on the verge of a very dire situation," that could turn into a runaway pandemic.
His visit came in the midst of an ongoing spike in new cases and hospitalizations. Earlier in the afternoon, the Spokane Regional Health District reported another 41 new cases.
"Something has to change if we're going to rescue our people and our economy," Inslee said, noting that the best way to do that is to first beat the pandemic.
In order to beat the pandemic, Inslee said, Washingtonians need to start wearing masks.
New requirements for wearing face coverings in public begin on Friday, June 26. If that requirement does not do enough on its own to slow the spread of the virus, Inslee said that his office could look into the possibility of requiring businesses to refuse service to people who don't abide by the rule.
Despite his great concern for Spokane County's rising numbers, Inslee also said during his visit that he was inspired.
"This is a community that can really pull together...and it is pulling together," he said.
He highlighted groups that help others by providing supplies to families who are forced to isolate because of a positive COVID-19 test.