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News >  Health

Spokane County health officer gives tips for gathering safely as holiday season arrives

Nov. 26, 2021 Updated Fri., Nov. 26, 2021 at 6:17 p.m.

A traveler wears a face covering while heading to the American Airlines check-in counter Tuesday at Denver International Airport in Denver.  (David Zalubowski)
A traveler wears a face covering while heading to the American Airlines check-in counter Tuesday at Denver International Airport in Denver. (David Zalubowski)

As the COVID rate continues to decline in Spokane County, Health Officer Dr. Francisco Velázquez is hopeful that Thanksgiving will not result in those trends reversing.

Even after Halloween, the county did not see an increase in cases, and the county’s vaccination rate has continued to inch up since then.

As of Monday, 56% of Spokane County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

This holiday season will benefit from the availability of childhood vaccines, as well as booster doses for fully vaccinated adults.

Still, Velázquez encouraged people to keep gatherings small, improve ventilation in homes by opening windows and to get a COVID-19 test if you have any symptoms at all before gathering.

He said gatherings with fully vaccinated attendees are less risky than gatherings with those who are not fully vaccinated. COVID-19 spreads very effectively indoors.

He advised unvaccinated people attending gatherings to wear masks and keep their distance.

“There’s high risk of transmission for all indoors, but an even higher risk for those who aren’t immunized,” Velázquez said on Wednesday.

Local hospitalizations for COVID-19 have plateaued, although hospitals remain at or above 90% capacity.

Staffing concerns persist, and as delayed procedures are rescheduled, Velázquez said local hospitals will be catching up on these procedures well into 2022.

Here’s a look at local numbers

Health agencies did not report new numbers on Thursday or Friday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Spokane Regional Health District reported 69 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and no additional deaths.

There are 81 patients hospitalized with the virus in Spokane .

The Panhandle Health District reported 106 new COVID-19 cases and has an additional 1,098 backlogged cases.

There are 81 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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