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COVID-19

News >  Spokane

Coronavirus spreads in Washington, but local officials confirm no cases in Spokane County

UPDATED: Sun., March 8, 2020

An ambulance backs into a parking lot, Friday, March 6, 2020, at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., which has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Washington state. Two more deaths among residents at the elderly care center were reported Sunday, and the first confirmed case in Spokane County was also reported by the state’s Health Department. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
An ambulance backs into a parking lot, Friday, March 6, 2020, at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., which has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Washington state. Two more deaths among residents at the elderly care center were reported Sunday, and the first confirmed case in Spokane County was also reported by the state’s Health Department. (Ted S. Warren / AP)

Local health officials said Sunday there are no positive cases of the new coronavirus in Spokane County, though the virus continues to spread in Washington.

Initially, the Washington Health Department reported 136 total cases of the virus, including one case in Spokane County. Within an hour, that case was included in the “unassigned” category of cases on the Health Department’s website, which totaled 14. Kelli Hawkins, spokeswoman for the Spokane Regional Health District, said they’d received no test results for the two people under investigation in the county.

Results are initially assigned to a county by the lab that conducts the testing, wrote Lisa Stromme Warren in an email, lead public information officer for the virus at the Health Department. Those assignments are then confirmed by the county or Health Department, and the “unassigned” cases have not yet had that confirmation made, she wrote.

“This data is changing rapidly as labs conduct tests and discover new cases,” Warren wrote. She added she did not know the origin of a case initially assigned to Spokane, “except to say that the data is evolving.”

As of Sunday, the virus has resulted in the deaths of 19 Washingtonians, most of them residents of an elderly care center in Kirkland. A Quincy resident in their 80s being treated in Wenatchee has also died, according to the Grant County Health District on Sunday.

“I will start this press release by stating our hearts are with the family, friends, and Central Washington Hospital staff,” said Theresa Adkinson, Grant County Health District Administrator. “I speak on behalf of our staff, Health Officer, and Board of Health, we are so sorry for your loss.”

In total, 136 cases have been confirmed in the state – in King, Snohomish, Grant, Jefferson, Kittitas, Pierce and Clark counties.

Two new deaths from the virus had been reported as of Sunday in King County. Both of them were residents of Life Care Center of Kirkland. A man in his 90s and a woman in her 80s died late last week.

Health officials had said earlier in the week they anticipated the virus would make its way to Eastern Washington. A prior test of a person with ties to Gonzaga University came back negative.

The Health Department reported tests of more than 1,200 residents, with 136 positive tests. The virus is being found mostly in older patients, with 79 cases found in patients ages 50 or older.

Spokane health officials encouraged residents last week to continue to take steps to avoid spreading the virus. That includes frequent hand-washing, avoiding touching your face, and cleaning home and work surfaces thoroughly.

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