Health District warns of ‘significant’ COVID-19 community spread in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. — COVID-19 has brought up many questions: What does school look like this year? How is Spokane County moving forward? The Health District and elected officials addressed some of these concerns today.

The coronavirus is still spreading across the county—the Health District said it’s seeing “significant community-wide spread” of COVID-19. This week alone, more than 66-percent of the cases are epi-linked, meaning someone got the virus through community spread.

As we’ve seen for quite some time, the younger population continues to lead the county in the number of cases.

The Department of Health said we still aren’t in the right range when it comes to the rate of infections; Spokane County’s rate is 187.3 per 100,000 new cases. That number, they say, needs to be under 25.

Our positivity rate isn’t where it needs to be, either.

According to County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz, 6.6-percent of people who are tested come back positive.

“The lower the rate of positive tests, it indicates that we’re doing enough testing,” said Dr. Lutz. “We’re getting enough testing across the community and again, that’s allowing us to make more informed decisions.”

Some of those informed decisions may include schools.

Dr. Lutz said he met with state health officers and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) about school guidance—he said more information about the path forward for schools should be finalized within the coming weeks.

The Regional Health District, additionally, conducted a mask survey, showing that 93-percent of people wear a mask when they enter a store. While it’s not 100-percent, Dr. Lutz noted that this is a significant increase compared to the last two weeks.