Spread of COVID-19 slowing down, but restrictions won’t be lifted any time soon in Washington

SPOKANE, Wash.– Social distancing is working; we know that because we’re starting to see fewer cases across the state and less people going to the hospital with COVID-19.

In Spokane County, eight more people have confirmed cases than there were Wednesday—it’s a sign coronavirus may not be spreading as much anymore in eastern Washington.

But, that doesn’t mean we can get back to thing and the people we love just yet.

“We can probably continue to see some form of these social distancing requirements through the end of May,” Spokane Regional Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz said.

Lutz said some areas in the state and country will be able to lift restrictions sooner than others, but doing that slowly is critical.

“If we let our hands off the brakes too quickly, we will find ourselves descending down the hill really quickly again,” Lutz said.

You can tell the story of the illness in Spokane County by looking at Spokane’s public testing site.

About 100 people are getting screened per day at the county fairgrounds, and just a third of those people actually have symptoms that meet the criteria for testing.

That’s a drop from the near 250 people they were screening per day about a week and a half ago.

On the other hand, the county is now focusing on where coronavirus is spreading the most.

“In the larger population centers such as Spokane Valley and the city of Spokane, that’s where I’m seeing the most number of cases, but there aren’t really hot spots we’ve identified as of yet,” Lutz said.

There’s also good news in Idaho.

Research from UW Medicine projected nearly 400 deaths in the state from COVID-19 just two weeks ago.

But once Gov. Little implemented the stay-home order. that projection has dropped to just 60 total deaths by mid-summer.

That could change quickly with another wave, and this is all dependent on social distancing through May, but it’s a good sign.