Governors vow that science, not politics will determine best course of action
Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak today announced their respective states are joining California, Oregon and Washington in the Western States Pact––a working group of Western state governors with a shared vision for modifying stay at home and fighting COVID-19.
“As Western states, we are all in this together,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Each of our states took quick and decisive action, based on science and data, to stop the spread of COVID-19. In the same way that we share expertise and help one another during wildfire season, we will work together as we recover from the impacts of this pandemic––with a shared vision, a common purpose, and individual paths forward tailored to the needs of our states––to reopen our communities and economies, and prepare our constituents for a safe return to public life.”
“Coloradans are working together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and have important information to share with and to gain from other states,” said Governor Polis. “I’m thrilled Colorado is joining the Western States Pact. There’s no silver bullet that will solve this pandemic until there is a cure so we must have a multifaceted and bold approach in order to slow the spread of the virus, to keep our people safe and help our economy rebound.”
“I’m honored to have the State of Nevada join the Western States Pact and believe the sharing of critical information and best practices on how to mitigate the spread, protect the health and safety of our residents, and reopen responsibly will be invaluable as we chart our paths forward,” said Governor Sisolak. “Millions of visitors from our fellow Western states travel to Nevada every year as a premier tourism destination, and this partnership will be vital to our immediate recovery and long term economic comeback.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently announced they would be working together under a shared vision for gradually modifying their state’s stay at home orders and fighting COVID-19. They listed three shared principles as foundational to the agreement:
• Our residents’ health comes first. As home to nearly one in five Americans and gateway to the rest of the world, the West Coast has an outsized stake in controlling and ultimately defeating COVID-19.
• Health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide these decisions. Modifications to our states’ stay at home orders must be made based off our understanding of the total health impacts of COVID-19, including: the direct impact of the disease on our communities; the health impact of measures introduced to control the spread in communities—particularly felt by those already experiencing social disadvantage prior to COVID-19; and our health care systems’ ability to ensure care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This effort will be guided by data. We need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening, and we will be working in coordination to identify the best metrics to guide this.
• Our states will only be effective by working together. Each state will work with its local leaders and communities within its borders to understand what’s happening on the ground and adhere to our agreed upon approach.
As part of the Western States Pact, the Governors commit to working together toward the following four goals:
• Protecting vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease if infected. This includes a concerted effort to prevent and fight outbreaks in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
• Ensuring an ability to care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This will require adequate hospital surge capacity and supplies of personal protective equipment.
• Mitigating the non-direct COVID-19 health impacts, particularly on disadvantaged communities.
• Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.