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 Christopher NewsomGOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order Trump sides with religious leaders in fight against governors Watch live: California Gov. Newsom gives coronavirus updates MORE (D) and Washington’s Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeWashington state bishops respond to Trump's push to reopen churches: 'We will wait' Trump takes pandemic fight to Michigan FEMA coronavirus supplies arrive mislabeled, slowing down state use: report 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 CuomoWatch Live: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gives coronavirus update New Jersey governor warns of educator, health-care worker layoffs without federal aid Ocasio-Cortez posts experience getting antibody tested for COVID-19 MORE (D) said.