Less than two weeks into the new year, 40 more Spokane County residents have died from COVID-19, following a surge in cases and hospitalizations that began in mid-November and has yet to significantly decline.
Since the pandemic began, 424 Spokane County residents have died of the disease. As of last week nearly half of those deaths, 209, have been connected to outbreaks at long-term care facilities.
Case counts and hospitalizations may not be accelerating locally, but they also are not declining yet in Spokane County.
The Spokane Regional Health District confirmed more than 500 new cases of the coronavirus over the weekend, and 283 new cases on Monday.
While the vaccination is going out to frontline health care workers and first responders, it will still be several months before the vaccine is widely available.
Health officials continue to encourage Washington residents to adhere to social distancing and avoid gatherings. Indoor gatherings and dining remain prohibited in all counties statewide as virus activity remains high.
Spokane County has the second-highest total of COVID-19 cases confirmed in the state, second only to King County. More than 5% of the county’s population has had COVID-19 as of Monday. There are 29,949 confirmed cases of the virus to date in Spokane County.
There are 119 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Spokane-area hospitals.
The Idaho Panhandle continues to see high rates of virus transmission, and hospitals are still treating many COVID-19 patients.
The Panhandle Health District confirmed 363 new cases over the weekend, including Monday, and five more deaths.
There have been 197 deaths due to COVID-19 among residents of the five-county region.
There are 95 Panhandle residents hospitalized with COVID-19, and the majority of them are being treated at Kootenai Health, which had to expand its COVID unit last year. There are 84 COVID-19 patients being treated at Kootenai Health, and 22 of them are in the critical care unit.
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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