‘Why aren’t masks mandatory?’: Local leaders answer your COVID-19 questions

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Regional Health and local leaders including Mayor Nadine Woodward answered the community’s questions about the region’s COVID-19 response in a telephone town hall on Wednesday. 

Of those questions, people wanted to know what the Health District is doing to enforce protocols to make sure healthcare workers stay safe. 

Dr. Bob Lutz with the SRHD says medical staff have their temperature taken each day before clocking into work, and any symptoms hospital workers show are closely monitored. 

Others wanted to know about enforcing mandatory masking.

According to Lutz, the science behind the efficacy of using a mask is still evolving. He says wearing a mask in public won’t necessarily protect you from giving someone else the virus, but it does demonstrate a communal care for one another.   

Mayor Woodward also addressed the housing crisis in Spokane, saying she and other local leaders are asking Governor Inslee to reconsider making residential construction essential. 

State Senator Andy Billig says, as social distancing measures continue to show promise, construction should be one of the first positions to return. 

In terms of what is being done to protect the city’s homeless, Woodward referenced the opening of the Downtown Spokane Library as a makeshift shelter.

The library is currently helping house people as other shelters deal with overflow. So far, over 100 people experiencing homelessness have been relocated there in order to meet social distancing standards.

Woodward says Spokane has yet to see a confirmed COVID-19 case in any of our shelters. 

What about food? A situational report from the state shows food banks are struggling to meet demand. 

Billig says emergency funding provided by state is on its way to food banks and measures are being taken to make sure organizations have enough food and resources to distribute it. 

READ: Report: Washington may soon run out of COVID-19 testing supplies

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