Spokane Co. Health Officer: No COVID-19 deaths in past week, but we aren’t in the clear yet

SPOKANE, Wash. — There have been no reported COVID-19 deaths in Spokane County over the past week.

As of Monday, there were 313 cases and 59 total hospitalizations, with 15 people currently being treated for the virus in the hospital.

Along with the stretch of no reported deaths, the hospitalization rate across the county also continues to trend downward.

Despite these two seemingly positive trends, county health officer Dr. Bob Lutz said Spokane County is not in the clear yet.

“The reality is, we can no longer contain this virus, but maybe we can suppress it to the level where we can control it to some degree,” he said.

According to Lutz, the ability to gain control over the virus and begin getting back to normal relies on ramping up testing. In order to do that, though, the county needs more materials. New testing guidelines are expected to be unveiled later this week. Dr. Lutz said healthcare providers will soon be asked to test anyone showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

Lutz said the Spokane Regional Health District received testing kits from the Washington State Department of Health and has been trying to determine if any of those tests were tainted. The DOH recalled about 12,000 testing kits over the weekend due to fears of possible contamination.

In response to the calls to reopen the state, Lutz said Washington still has a ways to go.

“What I don’t want is to see a bump up and I do not want a bump up to occur because we’ve opened up the door too quickly,” he said. “My big concern going forward… is that there’s going to be so much of a push to open things up. It’s Pandora’s box, it’s that monster behind the door, that we open things up, and all of a sudden, we don’t like what we see, we don’t like what we’ve opened up and then I’ve gotta slam the door shut.”

He had harsh words for the demonstrators who protested against the state’s stay home order over the weekend in Spokane and Olympia.

“I think it’s irresponsible of people to say ‘open it up.’ That’s selfishness. It’s pure selfishness. It’s not caring about the community. It’s not caring about the people they live with and work with,” Lutz said. “I’m not going to be supportive of the selfish attitude of ‘it’s all about me, it’s not about us.’ That doesn’t work for me.”

READ: Washington DOH recalls 12,000 coronavirus test kits over possible contamination

READ: UW report predicts Washington could potentially ease COVID-19 restrictions by mid-May

READ: Gov. Inslee suggests it’s unlikely Washington will be ready to reopen by May 4

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