Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 67° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

City of Spokane limiting in-person meetings as employee COVID-19 cases hit record high

Jan. 20, 2022 Updated Thu., Jan. 20, 2022 at 8:22 p.m.

As the sun sets in downtown Spokane, a pedestrian walks by the entrance of the City Hall building Oct 11. The Spokane City Council was notified on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 that the state has received a complaint about a possible violation of the mask mandate.   (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
As the sun sets in downtown Spokane, a pedestrian walks by the entrance of the City Hall building Oct 11. The Spokane City Council was notified on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 that the state has received a complaint about a possible violation of the mask mandate.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Spokane City Hall is scaling back in-person meetings due to a surge of COVID-19 cases among city employees.

An all-time high of 46 employees, about 2% of the city’s approximately 2,300-person workforce, tested positive for the virus last week.

It was the second consecutive week of record COVID-19 cases among city employees.

In response to that trend, City Administrator Johnnie Perkins issued a directive on Wednesday to shift meetings and employee training to a virtual setting or delay them until at least next month.

The city will reevaluate its position on in-person meetings next month when it is expected the spike in cases driven by the omicron variant could wane.

Perkins also reiterated that masks are required unless an employee is at their workstation or inside their vehicle alone.

He warned that “repeated violations can result in a record of counseling and entering into the progressive discipline process.”

The surge mirrors that of the broader community.

Daily case counts across Spokane County have dwarfed those of previous surges throughout the pandemic, according to Spokane Regional Health District data.

Thus far, there has not been a drastic impact to city operations like solid waste pickup, said city spokesman Brian Coddington.

“The city has been operating for quite some time in a hybrid environment that allows teams to strategically manage the number of staff members in the office at any one time,” Coddington said.

That works well for those in an office but not as well for those out in the field.

“The other variable starting to appear is more positive tests among the remote workers, which seems to be mirroring the struggles in the schools and other organizations,” Coddington said.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.