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More than 1,100 new COVID-19 cases reported in Inland NW on Tuesday

This electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases earlier this year shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland.   (HOGP)

More than 1,100 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the Inland Northwest on Tuesday, as Spokane County and North Idaho both broke records for daily case counts.

The Spokane Regional Health District reported 692 new cases on Tuesday .

The district’s previous record was 499 new cases of the virus on Nov. 23. Tuesday’s cases put the district just 50 new cases away from 20,000 total COVID-19 cases.

The health district confirmed five more deaths, bringing the county total to 293 deaths related to the virus. There are 102 county residents hospitalized due to COVID-19.

About 60% of the county’s cases have recovered, and the two-week incidence rate sits at 825 cases per 100,000 residents. The state recommends schools remain virtual unless the two-week incidence rate is 75 cases per 100,000.

The Panhandle Health District also reported a daily record of 415 new cases of the virus on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s numbers surpass Monday’s daily record of 378 new cases in the district, which covers Kootenai, Benewah, Bonner, Boundary and Shoshone counties. One more person has died in the district, bringing the total number of deaths to 129. As of Tuesday, Kootenai Health had 66 patients with COVID-19.

The five-county district has reported 11,697 total cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic.

Numbers in other Eastern Washington counties are also rising.

Whitman County Public Health reported 13 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, bringing the total to 2,486 cases. Most of the new cases are under the age of 40, with five between the ages of 20 and 39 and five 19 years old or younger.

Two people are hospitalized in the county while all other cases are stable and self-isolating. The county has had 22 deaths related to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.

The Adams County Health Department reported three additional deaths due to COVID-19 on Tuesday. None of them were residents of long-term care or assisted living facilities, according to the health department.

The three deaths included a 54-year-old woman, a 68-year-old man and a 67-year-old man, and only one of them had an underlying condition. The county has reported a total of 14 deaths due to the virus.

Grant and Adams counties have seen effects from a 300-person wedding near Ritzville on Nov. 7 that became a superspreader event. Adams County’s final count for cases linked to the wedding was seven cases.

In Grant County, however, potential outbreaks and deaths could be linked to the wedding, although health officials have yet to confirm as they are still investigating.

The Grant County Health District did confirm last week that staff members at long-term care facilities did attend the wedding and later tested positive for COVID-19. Grant County announced Nov. 20 that it was experiencing outbreaks at three long-term care facilities, but the connection between those outbreaks and the wedding is still unclear.

Grant County reported 104 new cases of the virus on Monday, and no new deaths. The county hit a record on Nov. 23 with 227 new cases reported.

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story 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.