Gov. Jay Inslee. FILE PHOTO

Gov. Jay Inslee. FILE PHOTO

Colorado, Nevada to join Washington, Oregon and California in Western States Pact

Governors share vision for modifying stay at home orders, fighting COVID-19

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak are joining Washington, Oregon and California in the Western States Pact — a working group of Western state Democratic governors with a shared vision for modifying stay at home orders and fighting COVID-19.

“In Washington state, our decisions are guided by public health data and science and this is a principle we share up and down the West Coast. Gov. Polis and Gov. Sisolak are taking that approach as well, and the addition of their states will strengthen this regional partnership and save lives,” Inslee said in a news release.

“Coloradans are working together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and have important information to share with and to gain from other states. I’m thrilled Colorado is joining the Western States Pact,” Polis said. “There’s no silver bullet that will solve this pandemic until there is a cure so we must have a multifaceted and bold approach in order to slow the spread of the virus, keep our people safe and help our economy rebound.”

“I’m honored to have the state of Nevada join the Western States Pact and believe the sharing of critical information and best practices on how to mitigate the spread, protect the health and safety of our residents, and reopen responsibly will be invaluable as we chart our paths forward,” Sisolak said. “Millions of visitors from our fellow Western states travel to Nevada every year as a premier tourism destination and this partnership will be vital to our immediate recovery and long-term economic comeback.”

Earlier this month, Inslee, along with California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, announced they would be working together under a shared vision for gradually modifying their state’s stay at home orders and fighting COVID-19.

They listed three shared principles as foundational to the agreement:

* Our residents’ health comes first. As home to nearly one in five Americans and gateway to the rest of the world, the West Coast has an outsized stake in controlling and ultimately defeating COVID-19.

* Health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide these decisions. Modifications to our states’ stay at home orders must be made based off our understanding of the total health impacts of COVID-19, including: the direct impact of the disease on our communities; the health impact of measures introduced to control the spread in communities —particularly felt by those already experiencing social disadvantage prior to COVID-19; and our health care systems’ ability to ensure care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This effort will be guided by data. We need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening, and we will be working in coordination to identify the best metrics to guide this.

* Our states will only be effective by working together. Each state will work with its local leaders and communities within its borders to understand what’s happening on the ground and adhere to our agreed upon approach.

As part of the Western States Pact, the governors commit to working together toward the following four goals:

* Protecting vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease if infected. This includes a concerted effort to prevent and fight outbreaks in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

* Ensuring an ability to care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This will require adequate hospital surge capacity and supplies of personal protective equipment.

* Mitigating the non-direct COVID-19 health impacts, particularly on disadvantaged communities.

* Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.


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