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COVID-19 activity locally continues to increase with school spikes behind some of the cases

April 16, 2021 Updated Fri., April 16, 2021 at 9:52 p.m.

Spokane County has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases this week, with four of five weekdays resulting in more than 100 new cases confirmed countywide.

The majority of these cases are in younger adults, many of whom just became eligible to be vaccinated this week.

The region’s case rate is 254 cases per 100,000 residents, higher than the cutoff for the region to remain in Phase 3, if the county were re-evaluated today under the governor’s reopening plan.

Counties, however, will not be evaluated again until May 3.

More than 85% of the county’s cases confirmed since Sunday are in residents 59 and younger. Residents in their 20s are still disproportionately driving case counts locally.

Some of these cases are coming from local universities.

Gonzaga University is reporting 95 active COVID-19 cases among students and employees, and Whitworth University is reporting a dozen active cases.

Numbers have risen slightly in local school districts, but not enough to deter the return to full-time, in-person learning for most K-12 students.

At Spokane Public Schools, where plans are moving forward to return fifth- and sixth-graders full time by April 28, the district reported this week that 98 people are quarantining. Also, there have been no additional reports of in-school transmission in the last few weeks.

Central Valley reports 33 positive cases in the past 14 days, with 70 quarantines resulting from external contact and 18 from internal contact.

Mead schools show 15 cases and 12 quarantines in the past two weeks.

Deer Park schools are also showing a spike this week with 16 new cases.

All Washington residents over the age of 16 are eligible to be vaccinated. To find an appointment, visit the state’s vaccine locator website or call (800) 525-0127, then press pound (#).

So far, one third of Spokane County has received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to state data.

Health officials are aiming to get the region to 70 or 80% fully vaccinated.

Here’s a look at local numbersThe Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 134 new cases on Friday and two additional deaths.

Death data will continue to fluctuate into next week as numbers are reconciled with the Department of Health. There are 595 deaths from the virus in Spokane County residents.

There are 49 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Spokane hospitals, which is more than a 10-person increase since Monday.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 33 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and no additional deaths.

There are 37 Panhandle residents hospitalized due to the virus.

S-R reporter Jim Allen contributed to this report.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is primarily funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, with additional support from Report for America and members of the Spokane community. These stories 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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