As coronavirus cases begin to taper off in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the state will be returning critical ventilators to the national stockpile for use in New York and other states hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak.
According to AP, Gov. Inslee, a former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said that weeks of social distancing and stay-at-home mandates have helped quell the amount of new cases emerging in Washington.
Gov. Inslee announced the statewide mandate on March 23. It will be in effect until May 4.
As a result, the state will be returning 400 of the 500 total ventilators they received from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile. They will be used in areas of the country that are still enduring an exponential growth in coronavirus cases.
“I’ve said many times over the last few weeks: We are in this together,” Inslee told reporters. “This should guide all of our actions at an individual and state level in the coming days and weeks.”
According to the Washington Department of Health, the West Coast state — one of the first U.S. hubs of the coronavirus outbreak — has a total of 7,984 cases and 338 recorded fatalities.
The new coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, targets the lungs and causes a fever, shortness of breath and coughing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
AP notes that health officials said that the ventilators Washington will be returning are not powerful enough to treat coronavirus patients, but can be used for other sick patients to make stronger ventilators available for COVID-19 cases.
Across the U.S., the CDC reports a total of 304,826 total cases and 7,616 total fatalities.
READ MORE OF OUR BREAKING NEWS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC