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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: First local deaths in 1918 flu pandemic reported as hospitals hit capacity

Every hospital in Spokane was crowded to capacity with Spanish influenza cases, and authorities were seeking a large building with room for several hundred beds as a temporary flu hospital, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Oct. 10, 1918. The first two deaths locally in the 1918 influenza pandemic also were reported. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Every hospital in Spokane was crowded to capacity with Spanish influenza cases, and authorities were seeking a large building with room for several hundred beds as a temporary flu hospital, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Oct. 10, 1918. The first two deaths locally in the 1918 influenza pandemic also were reported. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Every hospital in Spokane was crowded to capacity with Spanish influenza cases, and authorities were seeking a large building with room for several hundred beds as a temporary flu hospital.

About 110 cases of Spanish flu had been officially verified, but officials estimated the true total at about 220 cases.

The deadly nature of the disease could no longer be denied. Two women died the day before. Miss Vera Wood, of Spokane, died of pneumonia, brought on by the flu, and Mrs. Flora Logan, of Montana, died at the Davenport Hotel after contracting the flu on the way to Spokane.

“The Red Cross has mobilized every possible graduate nurse and woman who has had a course in practical nursing, to meet any eventuality,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle. There would be no attempt to quarantine influenza cases, because “this method of prevention has been found impracticable.”

The ban on schools, churches, theaters and most public gatherings remained in effect. More closures were announced. The Spokane Public Library and all of its branches were closed for the weekend but would reopen later strictly for the “receiving and drawing of books.”

Despite all of this, authorities were still attempting to forestall panic. The city health officer said the situation was “well in hand,” and “there is good reason to believe that Spokane will to a large degree escape the ravages of the influenza epidemic” because of the closing of public places.

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