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As cases plateau in the Inland Northwest, older residents are hospitalized and die from the virus at higher rates

Aug. 18, 2020 Updated Tue., Aug. 18, 2020 at 10:12 p.m.

The Royal Park Health and Rehabilitation Center is seen on July 28, 2020. The assisted living facility is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak and is located at 7411 N. Nevada St. in Spokane.  (Libby Kamrowski/The Spokesman-Review)
The Royal Park Health and Rehabilitation Center is seen on July 28, 2020. The assisted living facility is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak and is located at 7411 N. Nevada St. in Spokane. (Libby Kamrowski/The Spokesman-Review)

While COVID-19 cases appear to be plateauing in the Inland Northwest, older residents continue to be the most adversely impacted by the virus.

The Spokane Regional Health District confirmed only 18 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Four more residents have died from the virus in Spokane County, bringing the total number of deaths to 105. Half of these deaths have been due to outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

In Spokane County, where outbreaks at long-term care facilities have remained steady throughout the pandemic, there have been at least 53 deaths from outbreaks at facilities and 416 cases confirmed in conjunction with those settings, according to a Department of Health report published Aug. 11.

There are outbreaks in 13 long-term care facilities or adult family home settings in Spokane County, accounting for 313 total cases of COVID-19.

Franklin Hills Health and Rehabilitation, Sullivan Park Care Center and Royal Park Health and Rehab have the largest facility outbreaks in the county with more than 70 cases at each facility.

While Spokane County residents older than 50 only make up about 30% of the county’s confirmed cases, they account for 81% of the county hospitalizations and 98% of deaths due to the virus.

There are 34 county residents hospitalized with COVID-19, and there are 47 patients total receiving treatment for the virus in Spokane hospitals.

The Panhandle Health District, which covers five North Idaho counties, reported 31 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the number of cases to 2,476.

For the last month of data available, the percentage of residents testing positive has declined. In mid-July, the Panhandle region had a 12.5% positivity rate among all the people tested for the virus. In the first week of August, that rate fell to 10.5%.

The health district estimates that about 575 residents have active cases of the virus. In the five-county region, residents younger than 49 account for 63% of confirmed cases. Just like in Spokane County, however, older residents account for the majority of hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

There are 22 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus. Twenty-eight residents have died due to COVID-19, and all of them were older than 60.

Fourteen long-term facilities in the Idaho Panhandle have ongoing outbreaks of the virus, according to the most recent Idaho Department of Health and Welfare report. At least one long-term care facility in each of the five counties has confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The largest outbreak of COVID-19 is at Ivy Court in Coeur d’Alene, which has 52 cases and seven deaths attributed to an outbreak there.

There are 131 cases of COVID-19 associated with ongoing outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the Panhandle and eight deaths as of last Friday.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is primarily funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, with additional support from Report for America and members of the Spokane community. These stories can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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