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COVID-19

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Health district reports first suspected COVID-19-related infant death

UPDATED: Wed., March 2, 2022

The Spokane Regional Health District reported a suspected COVID-19 death of an infant on Tuesday.

The positive virus test was administered after the infant died, and the Department of Health and SRHD follow up on suspected deaths like these to determine whether COVID-19 was a cause or contributing factor to the death.

Since the infant tested positive for the virus after dying, there is a possibility that “COVID-19 was a contributing factor to the infant’s death in addition to other underlying medical conditions experienced by the infant,” a statement from SRHD says.

Hospital officials encourage continued mask use indoors

The state hospital association is urging Washington residents to continue wearing masks even when the state mask mandate goes away on March 12.

“Hospital leaders are encouraging people to wear masks indoors,” Taya Briley, vice president of the Washington State Hospital Association, told reporters Tuesday. “Until we have a few months of really low cases and things are more certain, we ask that this practice be continued in a pragmatic way.”

Masks will continue to be required in health care facilities such as hospitals and long-term care centers after March 12.

COVID hospitalizations continue to decline statewide, an encouraging and continued sign that the state is coming down off of the peak of the omicron wave.

There were 882 patients hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 as of Sunday.

This is a decrease from mid-February, when more than 1,000 Washingtonians were hospitalized with the virus.

Every day, 10 to 15 residents are still dying from the virus, however.

The decline in cases and hospitalizations does not mean an endemic is near.

“Typically when we call an infection an endemic you want to see much lower numbers, and we still have a significant number of cases in the community,” Dr. Santiago Neme, medical director at UW Medical Center, told reporters Tuesday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are counties throughout Washington in every level of community COVID transmission, from places like King County, which is considered “low,” to Spokane County, where transmission is “medium” and Okanogan County, where transmission is “high.”

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask indoors in public in “high” transmission counties, but masks are required in public places in Washington state until March 12.

Here’s a look at local numbers:

The Spokane Regional Health District reported 124 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and eight additional deaths.

There have been 1,291 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County residents.

There are 83 patients hospitalized with the virus in Spokane.

The Panhandle Health District reported 48 new cases and four additional deaths.

There have been 920 deaths due to COVID-19 in Panhandle residents.

The district is still reporting a backlog of 4,060 cases.

There are 51 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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