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Spokane County and the Panhandle both confirmed record COVID-19 cases Friday

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 6, 2020

The Spokane Regional Health District.  (JESSE TINSLEY)
The Spokane Regional Health District. (JESSE TINSLEY)

The COVID-19 pandemic is worsening in the Inland Northwest.

Both Spokane County and the Idaho Panhandle set records on Friday for the highest number of daily cases recorded to date during the pandemic.

The Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 187 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths from the virus on Friday. There are 62 patients receiving treatment for the virus in Spokane hospitals, and 46 of them are county residents.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 210 COVID-19 cases on Friday, as well as two additional deaths from the virus. There are 47 residents from the five-county region hospitalized with the virus.

Before Friday, Spokane’s record was 170 daily cases, while Panhandle’s was 141.

Local numbers mirrored those nationwide, where 123,718 new cases were reported Friday.

With the latest surge in cases, some Idaho health districts have been forced to prioritize investigative calls by age to ensure they are reaching the people most at risk for severe symptoms and those most likely to spread the disease.

“We are committed to doing our part in public health,” said Katherine Hoyer, Public Information Officer at Panhandle Health District. “But the reality we are facing is that levels of community transmission are making the critical work of investigation and contact tracing diluted. Simply put, we need the cooperation of our community members to do all they can to reduce their risk and protect themselves, their loved ones and fellow community members.”

Beginning Saturday all CHAS Health COVID testing locations will offer send-in testing to patients who qualify.

Testing turnaround times are one to three days, CHAS said in a statement Friday. Rapid tests will be restricted to patients with a significant medical need that providers deem appropriate after an evaluation.

People who think they need a rapid test must schedule an appointment with a CHAS Health provider.

Numbers also are up at most local school districts.

The largest district, Spokane Public Schools, recorded four{span} positive tests and 99 people in quarantine on its{/span} weekly dashboard Friday.

The Central Valley School District saw a moderate jump from last week. As of Friday, it had 23 positive cases in the last 14 days, with 136 people in quarantine.

The Mead School District, which began the year with in-person learning for elementary students and a hybrid model for upper grades, experienced a spike on Friday.

On Thursday the district reported 20 positive tests in the last 14 days and 126 people in quarantine; a day later, those numbers had risen to 25 and 159.

The Coeur d’Alene School District has reported 22 new cases this week, resulting in 112 more people being quarantined.

In Post Falls the district saw a sharp drop from last week, from 22 positive cases and 222 people in quarantine to 16 and 73.

Neighboring Lakeland, which has used a full-time in-person model with face coverings optional, has experienced 61 positive tests since the school year began. That is up from 41 last week in a district with 4,300 students.

The larger effect on the community is unclear, as Lakeland does not report how many individuals are quarantined as a result of close contact with infected people.

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