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In brief: Spokane County hit hard by flu; 108 hospitalized so far this winter

Thu., Feb. 14, 2013, midnight

More than 100 people have been hospitalized because of the flu in Spokane County this flu season, a steep increase from just 19 at this point last year.

Of the 108 hospitalizations through Wednesday, 72 were people age 50 and older.

Spokane Regional Health District spokeswoman Kim Papich said the numbers are expected to stay high over the next four or five weeks.

Areas on the East Coast and even in Western Washington have seen their numbers drop, she said, but Spokane’s widespread flu activity has continued.

“In Spokane, we’ve always considered our peak flu season February and March,” Papich said.

Last year followed that trend, with almost 85 percent of flu hospitalizations coming after mid-February.

There have been 34 confirmed influenza deaths in the state, with just one death reported in Spokane County.

Papich said it is not too late to get a flu shot, although they take about two weeks to reach their peak level of immunity.

A list of places to get low-cost flu shots can be found on the health department’s website,

Jennifer Pignolet

Police investigating suspicious death of woman found in house

The Spokane Police Department is investigating the suspicious death of a woman in her 30s in a house near Ninth Avenue and Thor Street.

Police spokeswoman Jennifer DeRuwe said a man arrived at a house, found the woman not breathing and called 911.

When emergency personnel responded, the man carried the woman out to the ambulance.

DeRuwe said the medics determined the woman had been dead for several hours.

Staff report

Gun used to shoot two deputies had been stolen from Utah officer

The gun Charles Wallace used to shoot two sheriff’s deputies last summer was stolen from a police officer, Spokane police spokeswoman Jennifer DeRuwe said Wednesday.

DeRuwe said the officer was from Utah but was visiting family in Spokane County when the gun was stolen from his vehicle.

The gun was previously reported to have been stolen by a car prowler in Liberty Lake.

“We returned the gun to Utah state police,” DeRuwe said.

After escaping from drug rehab, Wallace, 41, shot two Spokane County sheriff’s deputies June 19 before killing himself.

Deputy Matt Spink was shot once in the leg and Deputy Mike Northway was shot four times in the arms and legs.

Jennifer Pignolet


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