Standing with Ukraine and the defense of democracy

By The HERALD and Staff Reports

Standing with Ukraine and the defense of democracy

Standing with Ukraine and the defense of democracy

Washington is home to an estimated 100,000 Ukrainians. In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Gov. Jay Inslee reinforced his support for Washington's Ukrainian community and efforts to defend democracy.

"All Washingtonians should be outraged both by Russia's unprovoked and destructive attack on Ukraine, a peaceful nation that has embraced democracy. I stand with President Biden in his steadfast support of NATO and his efforts to protect our country at home," Inslee said Saturday. "All Washingtonians should be outraged both by Russia's unprovoked and destructive attack on Ukraine, a peaceful nation that has embraced democracy. Trudi and I are thinking of all those experiencing terrible suffering as a result of this unjust attack, especially the many members of the Ukrainian community living in Washington state. We stand united in our shared defense of democracy."

Washington Wins Federal Broadband Grants

The federal Department of Commerce yesterday announced Saturday that Washington has been awarded a $30 million grant to support broadband infrastructure in Ferry, Jefferson, Kittitas, Okanogan and Stevens counties.

The Washington State Broadband Office is pursuing an aggressive effort to bring high-speed internet access to all Washingtonians by 2024. This grant is one example of the office's success in partnering with local communities to compete for historic federal funding opportunities.

"The announcement from the NTIA is a big win for rural Washington communities," said Gov. Jay Inslee. "This funding supports our efforts to lead with equity and connect every Washingtonian to quality and affordable broadband service. Achieving that goal will require sustained investment from state, federal and local partners. Today's announcement gets us one step closer."

Indoor Mask Requirements Still in Effect, State Leaders Evaluating CDC Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control Friday announced updated guidance regarding indoor face mask use. Inslee announced earlier this month the state was planning for a March 21 end date for the statewide requirements. He issued a short statement today saying the state is reviewing new federal guidance, and will have more to say next week.

"Our office and our state Department of Health are reviewing the updated guidance from the CDC and evaluating their data, metrics and approach," Inslee said. "March 21 remains the current date for ending the state's indoor mask requirements, and we'll have more to say next week."

Vaccine Requirements Updated

Last Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee amended Proclamation 21-16, the COVID-19 emergency order requiring proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test for large indoor or outdoor events, to terminate on March 1. As previously announced, this emergency order will remain in effect until the termination date.

In addition, beginning Feb. 23, the guidance related to indoor visitation with long-term care residents in Proclamation 20-66 was updated to align with federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) visitation guidance. While the use of core infection prevention and control principles and best practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission must continue, some restrictions, including restrictions on the frequency and length of visits for residents and the number of visitors, were removed.

The guidance further provides that physical distancing should still be maintained during peak times of visitation. The use of face coverings will continue to be mandated in these facilities even after the face covering requirement is lifted in most public places on March 21.