Washington Governor Jay Inslee weighing "mandatory measures" to fight coronavirus

Inslee says state considering "mandatory measures" to address coronavirus

Washington — Washington Governor Jay Inslee said his state, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., is examining whether "mandatory measures" are required to combat the spread of the deadly virus.

"We are contemplating some next steps, particularly to protect our vulnerable populations and our nursing homes and the like," Inslee, a Democrat, said Sunday on "Face the Nation." "We are looking to determine whether mandatory measures are required."

There have been more than 107,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide, including 460 in the U.S., where people in 32 states and the District of Columbia have tested positive for the virus.

Twenty people have died in the U.S., including 17 in Washington state alone.

Inslee said his state has enacted measures designed to limit the number of people exposed, including by encouraging teleworking and canceling or postponing events with a large number of attendees, such as Emerald City Comic Con.

But Inslee said Washington state officials are considering "stronger measures."

"We are looking at extending what are voluntary decisions right now," he said. "We've asked a whole host of communities to consider whether you really need to have your events right now and they are being canceled."

Inslee praised the response by the public, saying Americans are "responding very well" and adhering to requests from public health officials.

"But we may have to go to the next step and we are thinking about those seriously to get ahead of this curve," he said, adding that could include "reducing the number of social activities that are going on."

Inslee met Thursday with top Trump administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, who was tapped by President Trump to lead the federal government's response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The governor acknowledged there were "troubles" with the federal government at the outset of the outbreak, specifically with testing protocols, and said the administration needs to accelerate production of the tests. But he also said Pence has been "helpful."

"We're focusing on people's health, not on political gamesmanship right now," Inslee said.