Spokane County Regional Health District reported the first COVID-19 deaths in nearly three weeks on Sunday.
The county, which had not had a COVID-related death since June 8, reported two deaths Sunday, bringing its total since the pandemic began in March to 39. There were 25 new cases reported Sunday, bringing the county total to 1,224.
“Recent increases in positive cases without an epidemiological link are signals alerting us to potential community-wide spread that could result in increased hospitalizations and hinder our ability to keep our community open,” said Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane County Health Officer in a statement Sunday.
The Dutch Bros. coffee shop in Airway Heights reported Saturday that two of its employees tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, and it would be temporarily closed for deep cleaning. Those employees, at the location at 10117 U.S. Highway 2, received positive test results on Thursday and Saturday.
One employee worked midday shifts at the shop on June 17 and 18 and morning-to-evening shifts on June 19 and 22. The second employee worked a midday shift on June 20 and and an evening shift on June 22.
The company is asking anyone with questions to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The business had previously instituted safety measures, including suspension of personal mugs and card-only payment, according to a statement.
The countywide increase in positive test results is attributed to a combination of increased contact tracing, relaxing of testing criteria, increased testing accessibility, and community spread, according to SRHD.
City and county leaders announced last week they were backing off their push for Spokane County to enter the next phase of reopening, as cases of the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus continue to spike, particularly among younger patients.
For the week ending Sunday, 248 new cases of the virus have been reported with at least 24 tied to the downtown restaurant Borracho Tacos & Tequileria.
The previous week, 144 cases had been reported.
As of Friday, there were 31,404 cases of COVID-19 in Washington with 1,310 deaths, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
Nationwide, there are more than 2.5 million cases, with 44,703 new cases reported Sunday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were more than 500 new deaths reported in the U.S. on Sunday, bringing the total to 125,803.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.