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News >  Health

COVID-19 hospitalizations rise over weekend in the Inland Northwest

Jan. 18, 2022 Updated Wed., Jan. 19, 2022 at 6:47 a.m.

Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.  (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW) Buy this photo

COVID hospitalizations increased in the Inland Northwest over the long holiday weekend.

Case counts are also somewhat backlogged due to the high volume of people testing positive in Washington and Idaho.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have increased significantly in North Idaho. There are 186 Panhandle residents hospitalized for COVID-19, but not all of these residents are hospitalized at Kootenai Health. As of Tuesday morning, there are 80 COVID patients being treated at the Coeur d’Alene hospital. Last Tuesday, there were only 78 patients in the entire Panhandle region in the hospital.

The rest of the hospitalized North Idaho residents with COVID-19 are at rural hospitals throughout the region or hospitalized elsewhere in Idaho or in Spokane, Katherine Hoyer, spokeswoman at the district, said.

The Panhandle Health District does not have exact hospitalization data to show where residents are being treated, but she said patients are being sent where there are open beds, which could be as far south as Boise or Lewiston.

Locally, Spokane hospitals continue to be incredibly busy, as the number of COVID patients seeking care continues to increase. There are 153 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Spokane, up from 115 last Tuesday. The week before that, there were 78 hospitalizations in Spokane.

Because of how contagious omicron is, Providence is changing its visitor policies as of Wednesday so that no visitors are allowed for adult patients except for maternity, children and end-of-life situations.

Sacred Heart Medical Center will receive a 10-person National Guard team, expected to arrive on Friday, which will serve in a nonclinical role, primarily in the emergency department there.

Hospitals are again canceling elective and nonurgent surgeries after the governor issued an order last week telling hospitals to do so to create more capacity in the system. Hospital officials are asking the public to not come to local emergency departments unless it is a true emergency.

People looking for COVID testing should use community testing sites, not crowd emergency rooms looking for testing, health officials say.

Here’s a look at local numbers

The Spokane Regional Health District reported 242 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, but the state’s lab is experiencing a backlog that will impact daily case counts this week.

The district also reported 1,331 new COVID cases Saturday, 664 new cases on Sunday and 670 new cases on Monday.

SRHD also confirmed four additional deaths. There have been 1,170 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County residents.

In North Idaho, case counts Tuesday are undercounts due to the number of backlogged and unreported cases in the region, as well as statewide .

After about two weeks with no backlog in reported cases, the Panhandle Health District now has 504 backlogged cases, while the state lab is more than 20,000 cases behind in reporting.

The Panhandle Health District reported 296 new COVID cases on Tuesday.

There are 186 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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