Increasing COVID-19 Positive Case Numbers Are Alarming for Spokane County

Increasing COVID-19 Positive Case Numbers Are Alarming for Spokane County

Oct 09, 2020

Media Contact: Kelli Hawkins | | (509) 324-1539, c (509) 994-8968

Spokane, Wash. – Yesterday’s COVID-19 data showing positive cases for Spokane County at 138, the county’s third highest total since the beginning of the pandemic, is alarming to Spokane Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz.  

“The data are not going in the right direction,” said Lutz. “We are seeing an increase in cases throughout the county from multiple sources which tells me people are not distancing, not wearing masks when they should, getting together when they shouldn’t, and not taking the threat of COVID-19 seriously.”  

Lutz explained these high case counts have Spokane County’s incidence rate ranked as the highest in the state, more than three times that of Washington state as a whole. SRHD is working with the Washington State Department of Health and the Governor’s Office, studying the data for Spokane County and determining what efforts will be needed to prevent further increases in outbreaks. 

“We have been working diligently with superintendents to start phasing children back to in-school instruction. We know that it is critical for children’s development that they be in school. It is also a way to ease the stress placed on parents and caregivers who need to get back to work,” said Lutz. “We need everyone’s help so that we can continue bringing children back to in-person school and opening the economy. We can do this by practicing physical distancing, limiting gatherings outside of our households, and wearing masks. I am very concerned, on the eve of a three-day weekend, that we will need to roll back recent easing of health measures in Spokane County, something I do not want to see happen.”  

Large gatherings taking place during past holiday weekends have proven to be troublesome with increased incidence rates, hospitalizations and deaths following each instance. For example:

  • Memorial Day, May 25 – Lead to a spike in cases between June 3-8
  • Independence Day, July 4 – Lead to a spike in cases between July 11-17
  • Labor Day, Sept. 7 – Lead to a spike in cases between Sept. 16-25

Health officials implore the community to support the economy and the phasing-in of in-person school by refraining from large gatherings over the weekend leading up to the commemoration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, Oct. 12, and in the future while planning Halloween activities and holiday celebrations. 

“We have a false sense of being out of the woods or that the pandemic isn’t as prevalent in our county, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Lutz said. “We need to work together as a community, staying vigilant, and showing care and concern for others by following the health guidance – even when away from work or not in public.”