West Coast governors announce they will create joint plan for reopening economies

The governors of Washington, California and Oregon on Monday announced they were working on a joint plan for reopening their states' respective economies once it is safe to lift coronavirus-related restrictions.

“COVID-19 has preyed upon our interconnectedness. In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 – with our states acting in close coordination and collaboration to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities,” Oregon’s Kate Brown (D), California’s Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomOVERNIGHT ENERGY: California seeks to sell only electric cars by 2035 | EPA threatens to close New York City office after Trump threats to 'anarchist' cities | House energy package sparks criticism from left and right California seeks to sell only electric cars by 2035 EPA head questions connection of climate change to natural disasters MORE (D) and Washington’s Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeBarr asked prosecutors to explore charging Seattle mayor over protest zone: report Bottom line Oregon senator says Trump's blame on 'forest management' for wildfires is 'just a big and devastating lie' MORE (D) said in a statement Monday.

“We are announcing that California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business,” they added.

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The plan will address particularly vulnerable populations at sites such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, building up hospital surge capacity even once the pandemic recedes, addressing the virus’s indirect effects on disadvantaged communities and ensuring that a system for testing, tracking and isolation of patients is in place after restrictions are lifted.

“COVID-19 doesn’t follow state or national boundaries,” the governors added, saying they will also each develop state-specific plans. “It will take every level of government, working together, and a full picture of what’s happening on the ground.”

The West Coast, one of the hardest-hit regions of the country in the early stages of the pandemic and home to some of the first areas to impose aggressive social distancing measures, has seen hopeful signs even as leaders strongly encourage citizens to continue maintaining social distancing to continue the trajectory.

California has seen 21,794 confirmed cases of the virus and 651 deaths from the virus as of Monday, while Oregon has seen 1,527 cases and 52 deaths and Washington has seen 10,224 cases and 491 cases. The announcement came the same day a coalition of governors in the Northeast unveiled a similar pact.

"We didn't start with a timetable. We said want it ASAP, but we want it smart. This is about being smart first, not political," New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoOvernight Health Care: Trump signs largely symbolic pre-existing conditions order amid lawsuit | White House puts off action on surprise medical bills | Rising coronavirus cases spark fears of harsh winter NY health officials to review any vaccine approved by Trump Americans splurging on Halloween candy MORE (D) said.