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News >  Washington

COVID-19 cases continue to decline statewide, but outbreak at basketball tournament shows lingering transmission risk

UPDATED: Sat., Feb. 20, 2021

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on a downward trend across Washington.

State epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist went as far as calling it a very different part of the pandemic for the state.

“We’re down the backside of this third wave, and it looks really, really promising,” Lindquist told reporters on Thursday. “What we’ve done is clearly working with case counts coming down.”

With still relatively tight restrictions on businesses and more people getting vaccinated, in just a month case counts have fallen.

On Jan. 9, the rolling average for daily confirmed cases was 2,767. That average is now 1,060.

Gov. Jay Inslee praised the state’s work on Friday but also warned that giving up on things like masking, social distancing and limiting gatherings now could be consequential.

“We cannot let our foot off the pedal here or these variants can eat us alive, literally,” Inslee told reporters Friday.

The U.K. variant of the virus has been detected in a handful of cases in western Washington so far. That variant, while not more deadly, is more contagious, raising cause for concern should it spread.

“There’s a lot of good news out here that we will be able to avoid subsequent surges, but only if all of us remain committed as we may have been,” Inslee said.

Even with limited reopening measures in place, outbreaks are still possible.

The Okanogan, Chelan-Douglas and Kittitas county health departments reported an outbreak of cases connected to a basketball tournament at a private facility in Pateros on Feb. 6. The health departments are recommending that anyone in attendance get tested for the virus.

While some low- and moderate-risk sport competitions are allowed indoors, tournaments are currently prohibited in Phase 2 of the governor’s Roadmap to Recovery plan.

Meanwhile, vaccine access was limited this week by delivery delays. MultiCare, Providence Health Care and the Spokane Arena site, have all had to cancel some appointments for vaccines due to lack of supplies.

At MultiCare, rescheduling appointments will continue through at least Monday, and staff will reach out to affected patients and add them to the vaccine waiting list for priority scheduling once more vaccines arrive.

Similarly, if your appointment at the Spokane Arena was canceled, Department of Health staff will call or email you with a new time and date to come in for a vaccine next week.

Here’s a look at local numbersThe Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 88 new cases on Friday, and one additional death.

There are 72 patients with COVID-19 being treated in Spokane hospitals.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 52 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.

There are 22 Panhandle residents hospitalized with COVID-19.

S-R reporter Laurel Demkovich contributed to this story.

Arielle Dreher'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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