At his May 12 press conference, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee laid out the plans for the statewide contact tracing initiative.
“[The initiative] is robust, it is vigorous and it is comprehensive, and it needs to be all three to be successful,” Inslee said.
“If we do not succeed in this second stage of our efforts, this virus could come bright back and bite us.”
As LynnwoodTimes.com's Luke Putvin notes, the information Inslee provided was labeled as “Contact Tracing: Box in The Virus.” The steps were listed as follows:
Contact tracing involves interviewing people with positive COVID-19 tests to identify who they’ve been in contact with, getting those people tested and then making sure they isolate themselves and their families.
As the press conference went on, one question kept coming up - what about enforcement? How will you ensure Washington State residents comply and what if they don't?
The answer is as scary as many have worried about. As Putvin reports, for those businesses/individuals that don’t comply, the governor stated that he confirmed with Attorney General Bob Ferguson, there will be sanctions in civil or crimal court.
At timestamp 38:55 in the video of the press conference below, one reporter asked:
“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?
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?“
Below is Jay Inslee’s response:
“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. 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.”
Therefore, those individuals that refuse to cooperate with contact tracers and/or refuse testing will not be allowed to leave their homes to purchase basic necessities such as groceries and/or prescriptions.
Those persons will need to make arrangements through friends, family, or a state provided “family support personnel.”