Washington may start flattening the curve, but Spokane County still seeing increase

SPOKANE, Wash. — We may soon start seeing fewer cases of COVID-19 in Washington. New numbers suggest the worst of the coronavirus pandemic may be behind us in Washington, but health experts in Spokane county say things look a little different here.

‘Flattening the curve’ has been the term we’ve been hearing since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social distancing, closing non-essential businesses, and wearing masks—it’s all to help stop of the spread of COVID-19. The problem is, according to health experts, we’re not quite to where we need to be yet.

“I don’t think that we are seeing a flattening of the curve yet,” said Dr. Bob Lutz, health district officer in Spokane County.

According to models from The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent research center at the University of Washington, it would seem the worst is behind us. The projected date of peak resource use for Washington was four days ago, April 2. Meaning, this is when we would’ve needed the most hospital beds, ICU space, and invasive ventilators for COVID-19 patients.

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However, Dr. Lutz said to view this information carefully.

“It’s a model that attempts to pull in a variety of different variables to come up with some suggestions,” Dr. Lutz said.

Dr. Lutz emphasized the model is statewide. It is not specific to the Inland Northwest.

“It’s been thought that at the state level, given that we’ve seen a lot of cases in the Puget Sound region and that we’re not seeing as many cases now that there is a ‘flattening of the curve,'” Dr. Lutz said.

He said Eastern Washington continues to see increasing number of people with COVID-19 cases.

“Yakima county has over 300 cases,” Dr. Lutz said.

In Spokane County, 222 people have confirmed cases of COVID-19, as of Monday.

Dr. Lutz said a metric Spokane County uses is counting how many hospitalizations there are per day.

“We have not had a significant uptick over the last couple days in increasing numbers of hospitalizations,” Dr. Lutz said.

To keep those numbers down, we all have to keep following guidelines from the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

“My hope is that the worst is behind us,” Dr. Lutz said.

According to the data from that report, in Idaho, the projected date for peak resource use next Thursday, April 16. Again, these numbers reflect statewide. They are not catered to specifically to north Idaho.

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