After months of counties easing restrictions, businesses reopening and people adapting to the new orders, the state once again had to take a step back in an effort to curb the rapid and worrying spread of the coronavirus.
Confirmed cases of the virus have been rising across the state since September. Over the past two weeks, transmission of the virus has become even more rapid. Hospitalizations are up, too. If that trend continues, it has the potential to strain the state's hospital systems, something health officials are desperately hoping to avoid.
Early last week, public health officials made a last dire plea to residents: take action now to stop the spread of the virus. But the plea came with a warning, that if people didn't do enough, the state would have to put restrictions back into place. It was something health officials said, at the time, they wanted to avoid.
Later last week, Gov. Jay Inslee said he was preparing to announce new measures to slow the spread of the virus. In a rare Sunday news conference, he made good on that promise, announcing the new set of restrictions, most of which will go into effect Tuesday and remain in place for at least the next four weeks, through Dec. 14.
"This spike puts us in a more dangerous a position as we were in March," Inslee said during the press conference Sunday. "And it means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public's well-being, and to save lives. These were very difficult decisions that have very real consequences to people's livelihoods. I recognize that and don't take those impacts lightly, but we must act now and act quickly to slow the spread of this disease."