Spokane County’s daily coronavirus case number was back in the triple digits on Wednesday. That’s the first time it’s crossed the hundred mark since August 8.
It means the post-Labor Day Covid spike continues to grow in magnitude. And it comes just as the flu season approaches.
The Spokane Regional Health District reported 123 new coronavirus cases. It’s the fourth highest mark in Spokane’s six-month Covid era and it continues a steady increase in the number of reported cases over the last two weeks.
Health Officer Bob Lutz says the timing is not good.
“There was a great analogy or metaphor by Dr. Osterholm the other day. He said this is like a wildfire, where you continue to have smoldering fires that just don’t go out and sometimes you have conflagrations. We find ourselves dealing with that as we go into flu season. It’s very concerning," he said.
The doctor to whom Lutz refers is Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Gretchen LaSalle, a family physician at MultiCare, says the fall flu season will bring new challenges for doctors. She says the symptoms for Covid are much the same as the symptoms for the flu. That, she says, made it difficult to make accurate diagnoses at the beginning of the pandemic.
“The peak of flu season was right when we were starting to see Covid happen. There was an overlap and there were cases of people having both. Each individually is devastating enough or potentially devastating enough. Combine them together and that overwhelming inflammation and organ damage and cardiovascular damage could really be a deadly combination," she said.
LaSalle is encouraging people to start thinking now about getting a flu shot. They’re available now. It’s a little earlier than when she would normally counsel patients to get immunized, but she says better early than never this fall.