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Gov. Inslee considering 'mandatory measures' to fight spread of coronavirus

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told Face The Nation on Sunday he is considering mandating social distancing, like canceling large events, to stop the spread of COVID-19.

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Editor's note: The above video was published earlier this month. 

Gov. Jay Inslee said he is considering mandating practices that could help stop the spread of coronavirus in Washington state.

Appearing on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, Inslee said he is looking at putting "mandatory measures" in place, like canceling large social events, as the state looks to the next steps in combatting the virus. 

"We are looking at extending what are voluntary decisions right now. And we've asked a whole host of communities to consider whether you really need to have your events right now, and they are being canceled. Comic-Con has been postponed. We have a number of school closures. We are contemplating some next steps, particularly to protect our vulnerable populations and our nursing homes and the like. And we are looking to determine whether mandatory measures are required," Inslee said on Face the Nation.

RELATED: Real-time updates: 16 coronavirus deaths among 103 total cases in Washington state

Washington state currently has the most number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country. The epicenter seems to stem from Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland. 

As of noon on Sunday, there have been 16 deaths and over 100 cases in the state.

Inslee praised his constituents, saying both the general public and employers are listening to health officials: they're staying home when they're sick and are working from home if they are able. 

The governor said the next step for Washington isn't necessarily a quarantine, like one happening in Italy. 16 million people in northern Italy are being quarantined to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Rather, his office is looking at reducing the number of social activities happening, making decisions based on infection rates. 

"And this will be or could be hard for the public---because they may not have seen the full wave yet. We need to anticipate that wave, get ahead of it. We are thinking about stronger measures right now," Inslee said.

After his Face the Nation interview, Inslee met with advisors about possible options. Nothing has yet been finalized.

What are coronavirus symptoms?

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or colds. Symptoms include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

The severity of symptoms ranges significantly. Some cases are very mild with symptoms similar to the common cold, and some cases are more like severe pneumonia that require hospitalization. Most deaths have been reported in older adults who had other health conditions, according to DOH.

Symptoms may appear as soon as two days after being exposed to the coronavirus or as long as 14 days.

A new Washington call center has been set up to answer your questions about COVID-19. If you have questions about how the virus spreads, what is being done in Washington state, and what you can do if you have symptoms, call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.