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News >  Health

CDC has loosened outdoor mask guidance for fully vaccinated people, but Spokane County’s COVID-19 numbers aren’t going in the right direction

April 27, 2021 Updated Tue., April 27, 2021 at 9:20 p.m.

Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask outdoors when they are exercising, in small group gatherings or dining , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday.

The CDC still recommends that everyone, vaccinated or not, wears a mask to a crowded outdoor event like a game or concert.

People who have not been vaccinated should continue to wear masks in some outdoor settings, including when others who aren’t vaccinated are gathering with them, and in an outdoor restaurant with multiple households.

Masks are still required indoors at retail stores and restaurants in Washington state, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents.

As of April 24, more than 40% of Washington state residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 28% of the population is fully vaccinated.

In Spokane County, 34% of residents have received at least one shot, and 24% of the county’s population is fully vaccinated.

Other COVID trends in the Inland Northwest do not look promising.

As of Tuesday, Spokane County is not meeting either metric necessary to stay in Phase 3 of the governor’s reopening plan.

The county’s case rate per 100,000 people is 299 , which is well over the limit needed to stay in Phase 3: 200 cases per 100,000 residents .

Hospitalizations are also not trending in the right direction. As of Tuesday, the county’s COVID hospitalization rate is 8.6 people per 100,000, which is higher than the 5 or fewer required to stay in Phase 3.

Counties are reevaluated on Monday, and unless hospitalizations decrease significantly this week or the governor moves the benchmarks again, Spokane County will likely be moved back to Phase 2.

Here’s a look at local numbersThe Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 67 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and four additional deaths were reported last week.

There have been 608 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County residents.

There are 77 people with the virus getting treatment at Spokane hospitals.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 35 new cases on Tuesday and no additional deaths.

There are 39 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.

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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