City of Spokane officials encourage community to practice social distancing amid coronavirus outbreak

SPOKANE, Wash. — Mayor Nadine Woodward wants the Spokane community to pratice social distancing amid growing concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak.

There are currently no confirmed cases, nor documentation of coronavirus in Spokane County, but Dr. Bob Lutz of the Spokane Regional Health District believes COVID-19 is present in the community. He maintained that the risk for the majority of the community remains low.

Communities in western Washington have been hit hard by the virus. On Wednesday afternoon, the Washington State Department of Health confirmed 366 positive cases of the virus and 29 deaths as a result of the virus in the state.

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Woodward’s advice to pratice social distancing comes after conversations with public health officials. The intention is to minimize the exposure to anyone with weakened or compromised immune systems.

The city is urging organizations holding large gatherings to review their contignency plans and considering postponing or canceling.

“At this time, we have not established limitations on large social gatherings, but that could change in coming days,” Woodward said.

This comes as Governor Jay Inslee announced a ban of large gatherings in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties on Wednesday.

RELATED: Governor bans large gatherings in great Seattle area

Though an official ban has not been instated in Spokane, several organizations have already begun changing their event plans. The first round of the NCAA men’s basketball championship set for Spokane will not allow spectators and the Washington Middle School Basketball championship has been postponed as a result of the virus.

RELATED: State health department confirms 366 positive cases of COVID-19, 29 deaths

Lutz also said future decision on canceling events and closing school will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday with local agencies. Woodward added that there will be additional updates for the community in the coming days.

RELATED: March Sadness: NCAA says no fans allowed at upcoming basketball tournaments

WATCH LIVE: Mayor Woodward discusses city's response to COVID-19 outbreak.

Posted by 4 News Now on Wednesday, March 11, 2020