Arrow-right Camera

Color Scheme

Subscribe now


More than 1,800 COVID-19 cases confirmed this week in Spokane County, with corrections center outbreak intensifying

The Airway Heights Correctional Center near Spokane.  (JESSE TINSLEY)

Spokane County has the second-highest total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, second only to King County.

Since Monday, local health officials have identified 1,831 new cases of the virus, including about 700 cases linked to the massive outbreak at Airway Heights Corrections Center.

There are now 20,707 confirmed cases of the virus in Spokane County residents.

While health officials are still trying to parse Thanksgiving data to see whether the disease has slowed its surge, hospitalizations continue to increase locally.

In Eastern Washington, there are 151 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, and 83% of intensive care unit beds in the region are full.

There are 129 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Spokane County, and 121 of them are county residents.

Since Monday, 11 Spokane County residents have died from the virus. Outbreaks continue in virtually every sector, including schools and long-term care facilities.

The area’s largest school district, Spokane Public Schools, saw a rise in COVID activity this week.

According to the dashboard updated Friday afternoon, the district had 18 new positive tests with 270 people quarantined as a result. Last week’s numbers were 16 and 223, respectively.

Hardest-hit was Roosevelt Elementary School on the South Hill, where 60 people are quarantined.

There are current outbreaks at 27 long-term care facilities in Spokane County and in four adult family homes.

There have been 174 deaths related to long-term care facility outbreaks in Spokane County thus far in the pandemic, accounting for more than half of the county’s deaths from the virus.

Outbreaks also continue in long-term care facilities in Grant County, which reported 10 additional deaths related to facilities on Thursday.

Some of these deaths have been tied to transmission occurring after a wedding outside Ritzville in November.

Three long-term care workers at Lake Ridge Center in Moses Lake worked before they knew they were ill and contagious after attending the wedding. The Grant County Health District cannot tie individual cases or deaths to staff members; however, the outbreak occurred after the wedding and has resulted in more than 70 staff and residents testing positive, and 15 people dying.

In North Idaho, the Panhandle Health District confirmed 1,726 new cases since Monday, as well as 13 additional deaths from the virus. Kootenai Health has been forced to expand its COVID units to accommodate 78 patients with the virus, including 17 in critical care.

Reflecting the trend in North Idaho, schools in Coeur d’Alene saw another uptick in COVID cases.

Coeur d’Alene Public Schools reported Friday that 72 people are currently isolated after testing positive. That’s up from 69 the day before. However, the number of people in quarantine fell from 448 to 376.

Post Falls reported 20 positive tests during the past two weeks, while Lakeland has had 169 positive tests since Aug. 31.

Mead reported 92 positive tests in the past 14 days, with 272 people in quarantine, while Central Valley had 49 positive tests and 200 quarantined.

Deer Park saw a near doubling of positive tests from Thursday to Friday, from seven to 13, while people quarantined rose from 47 to 66.

S-R reporter Jim Allen contributed to this story.

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.