Spokane and Kootenai Co. see dip in COVID cases

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane County has gone from over 500 COVID cases just two weeks ago to 104 reported cases.

Today marks one year since the first case of COVID was discovered here in Washington. After a holiday surge, hospitals were feeling the strain of lessened resources and exhausted staff.

However, due to the community’s response in wearing masks, social distancing and staying away from vulnerable populations, there’s hope on the horizon. Doctors say the community’s commitment has been a huge help.

“Due to a high rate of compliance, we did not stretch our capacity.  That is fantastic for us, and we do want to thank you all Washingtonians for doing your part. It was due to you that our systems were not overwhelmed, and honestly we can’t thank you enough,” said Dr. Elizabeth Wako, the chief medical officer for Swedish First Hill.

On January 7, Spokane County had 119 people in the hospital with COVID symptoms — now, it’s down to 93.

North Idaho is also seeing decreases in cases — 97 people were hospitalized two weeks ago in Idaho, and the numbers are at 62 today.

While these are signs of hope for the future, experts say people can’t let their guard down.

“While we’re all tired of this pandemic and everything that has gone along with this pandemic, including the steps we’ve all had to take together, the pandemic — the virus is simply not tired with us,” said Dr. Shah, the Secretary of Health.

While the vaccine is making its way into Washingtonians’ arms, new strains of the virus have also been discovered. Governor Inslee wants to amp up vaccine distribution in Washington to ensure anyone who wants the vaccine and qualifies for it can receive it.

Tomorrow, Washington is releasing data to see if any counties qualify to move into Phase 2 of reopening.