OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who leads the state Department of Natural Resources, tonight offered praise for Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay at Home” order and issued the following statement:

“The situation our state and nation faces is jarring. If unchecked, the coronavirus could kill 2.2 million people in the United States. That staggering number must serve as an impetus to do all we can to contain and defeat COVID-19. Thankfully, we are not helpless in the face of this pandemic. Our scientists and doctors have made clear what steps we must take to reduce the infectivity of the coronavirus.

“The data is also clear that the steps we have taken to date, although drastic, are not enough. People are still gathering in large crowds and ignoring the protocols of social distancing. This behavior undercuts the sacrifices that Washingtonians of all means and ability are making. And it undercuts the heroic efforts of our doctors, nurses, and first responders who risk their lives each day responding to this unrelenting virus.

“The disruptions we are experiencing are difficult and challenging – and unprecedented in our lifetimes. But, we can do hard things. Our medical professionals are doing hard things; our health officials are doing hard things; our service workers are doing hard things; our first responders are doing hard things.

“Now is not the time for half-measures. Now is not the time to hold back. Let’s band together and each, selflessly, do our part to protect our friends, families, and neighbors. Stay home and stay safe – it is a sacrifice that will save countless lives.”