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More than 400 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Inland NW on Tuesday as daily rates remain high

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 18, 2020

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

Daily COVID-19 case rates in the Inland Northwest remain high as a third wave of the virus spreads across the country.

The Spokane Regional Health District reported 234 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 13,272. The health district estimates 66.5% of people who have been infected since the start of the pandemic have recovered. The county has 108 people hospitalized with the virus, including 74 county residents.

Case numbers in the county have consistently topped 100 since Nov. 5. Now, daily case rates are above 200.

Spokane County hit a daily record high of 425 cases on Saturday and confirmed 942 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced new restrictions Sunday that went into effect this week, including restricted personal gatherings, closed gyms and no indoor dining at restaurants and bars. The restrictions will last until Dec. 14 at which point Inslee said health experts will determine if enough is being done to reverse the course of the virus.

Inslee called Sunday “the most dangerous public health day in over 100 years.”

Statewide case numbers and test positivity rates are delayed as there is an increase in volume of lab test results, according to the Washington State Department of Health website.

Whitman County, which has seen community spread since students returned to Washington State University in August, only reported nine new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total to 2,076 . Five of the new cases were people in their 20s and 30s. Three people are currently hospitalized.

For the first two weeks of November, the county reported 441 new cases per 100,000 people, putting it in the “high activity” category. The county has reported 22 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Cases numbers in North Idaho are also consistently increasing.

The Panhandle Health District, which covers five counties in North Idaho, reported 204 new cases of the virus on Tuesday. There are 50 people hospitalized in the region, which includes Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai and Shoshone counties.

The region has had a steady increase in cases since the beginning of October, with daily rates consistently around 100 new cases. The region hit a record on Nov. 6 with 209 new cases of the virus reported.

Gov. Brad Little announced Friday the state would move back to a modified Phase 2 of its reopening plan, and limit social gatherings to 10 people or fewer except for religious or political expressions. The 10-person limit does not apply to businesses or schools, he said.

“This does not mean Idaho’s economy is on lockdown,” Little said.

Little made these changes amid concern with the state’s hospital capacity. As of Friday, there were 376 hospitalized patients in Idaho with COVID-19, including 79 in intensive care units.

Kootenai Health reported Tuesday it was treating 39 people for COVID-19, with 10 who needed critical care.

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story 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.

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