COVID-19 continues to spread in Spokane and across Eastern Washington as the region enters another week of school closures and business closures amid the governor’s “stay home, stay healthy” order.
Health officials reported 133 Spokane County residents have been diagnosed, with 25 people hospitalized. Four people in Spokane County have died from the virus.
“We will continue to see our numbers increase in Eastern Washington in the next few weeks,” Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane County health officer, warned at a virtual media briefing Monday morning, urging residents to heed the statewide mandate to stay home, unless to go on an essential shopping trip to get groceries or medicine, or take a walk outside while adhering to social-distance guidelines.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s “stay home” order is supposed to be in effect through April 8, but over the weekend he said he likely will extend it. Lutz reminded county residents that quarantine should be limited to immediate family members in a household, not extended families.
While models show the peak of COVID-19 cases statewide will be in mid-April, Lutz told reporters Monday that he thinks that peak likely will be toward the end of April or early May in Eastern Washington.
“It’s going to be with us for a while, and I think we need to prepare for it,” he said.
Statewide there is still a limited number of testing kits, Lutz said, as well as a continued need for personal protective equipment for health care providers on the front lines of treating the virus. To date, 3,712 tests have been validated in Spokane County, according to the Washington Department of Health. Both federal and commercial health labs are processing test kits, and the county is notified of all validated test results, both positive and negative. Lutz is preparing for an increase of cases locally, even as the Puget Sound region sees a slight decrease in the rate of new cases reported each day.
So far, there are only three counties in Eastern Washington that have no reported cases: Pend Oreille, Asotin and Garfield.
The Washington State Department of Health confirmed more than 500 new cases of COVID-19 Monday morning with six new deaths. Almost 400 of the confirmed cases do not yet have an assigned county, according to the Department of Health. Statewide there are 4,896 cases and 195 deaths.
Over the weekend, the department changed the way cases are reported. They will be updated daily, and will include all cases and deaths reported by midnight that day.
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