COVID-19 cases, and vaccinations, climb amid requirements by universities and major employers

FILE: COVID-19 vaccine
Jonathan Hayward
FILE: COVID-19 vaccine

SPOKANE, Wash. – We’re tracking the rising number of COVID-19 cases in our region, and the number of people going to the hospital for treatment. Doctors warn that it’s only a matter of time before unvaccinated people find themselves battling the Delta variant.

According to ABC, the good news at this point is that as a nation, we’ve hit a milestone: 50 percent of the U.S. population has been vaccinated. Vaccinations rates have gone up for 4-weeks straight. Closer to home, those rates aren’t quite as promising and case rates are concerning.

In Kootenai County, there were 67 new cases on August 6th and the current hospitalizations are at 54.

In Spokane County, there were 176 new cases on August 6th and the current hospitalizations are at 92.

ABC reported that there were 100,000 new cases in a single day, twice this week. We’ve seen the steepest rise in people going to the hospital for treatment, since the winter of 2020. One month ago, 12,000 people were hospitalized and that number is now 61,000. Meanwhile, schools are bracing for the impact between schools and the Delta variant.

“Today, about 400 people will die because of the Delta variant in this country, a tragedy because virtually all of these deaths were preventable if people had gotten vaccinated,” said President Joe Biden.

In the weeks ahead, the FDA is expected to recommend a plan for vaccine booster shots for those who are immunocompromised.

Now, the Supreme Court is weighing in on vaccine mandates for the first time. The court is being asked to block a plan by Indiana University to require students and employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Here at home, Washington State University, Eastern, Gonzaga, and many other universities in our area have the same requirement. Two lower courts have already said Indiana can move forward with that requirement.

Further, as case rates go up, more major employers are requiring vaccinations and one of those hitting very close to home. Providence hospital says everyone is required to get vaccinated and show proof of vaccination.

Those who aren’t able to get vaccinated will be required to sign a declination and undergo enhanced COVID testing, and attend mandatory vaccine-related education. Current employees have till September 30th to meet that requirement.

MultiCare Hospitals will require employees to get vaccinated as well. The company says it’s working through the details right now. It already required employees to get the flu vaccine.

RELATED: Providence to require all caregivers to be vaccinated against COVID-19

RELATED: MultiCare to require employees to get COVID-19 vaccine

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