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caption: Vice President Mike Pence greeted Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Thursday with an elbow bump to avoid shaking hands.
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Vice President Mike Pence greeted Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Thursday with an elbow bump to avoid shaking hands.
Credit: AP

Gov. Inslee says there may already be more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases in Washington

Governor Jay Inslee says there may already be 1,000 cases of coronavirus in Washington state alone.

That's more than all of the confirmed cases in the US at this time.

Inslee, speaking on the Rachel Maddow Show Monday night, says with more than 160 cases are confirmed in Washington and that means there are likely far more that aren't yet detected.

"The problem is, is that we really need to as leaders make decisions looking forward to where this is going, rather than where it is today," Inslee said. "We might have 1,000 people infected today in Washington but this doubles every week in an epidemic like this, and so seven weeks from now we may have 60,000 people plus infected."

Inslee says the state will need to free up capacity in the medical system. For example, he says the state might require a delay for elective surgeries to free up room for more urgent needs.

As of Monday afternoon, there are 169 lab-confirmed cases in the state, and 22 of those patients have died.

Inslee says the state is on the right track by ordering testing supplies and setting aside quarantine units in King County, such as a motel.