Spokane and north Idaho have moved into new territory when it comes to the number of people hospitalized for the coronavirus.
Call it a triple dose of triple digits.
For starters, Spokane County public health officials reported 112 new Covid cases on Thursday. That’s five triple digit days in the last six.
The Panhandle Health District topped that with 128.
The third dose comes in the combined total of hospitalizations between the two regions. Spokane County reported 62 people receiving hospital care on Thursday. The Panhandle Health District reported 45 hospitalizations. Add the two, it gives you 107.
As a reflection of that, the health district in Coeur d’Alene has added Shoshone County to its list of counties added to the highest risk category, joining Kootenai and Boundary Counties. Bonner and Benewah are in the next lowest category. Overall, health district officials say north Idaho is seeing substantial community spread.
It’s putting a lot of pressure on the hospitals on both sides of the border. Last week, Kootenai Health doctors made that clear to the board of health in urging a continuation of a countywide mask mandate.
In Spokane, MultiCare pulmonologist Dr. Ben Arthurs says he thinks his company’s hospitals are in a better position than earlier this year to handle a high volume of patients. He says he’s become more comfortable being around Covid patients and wearing protective equipment.
“I’ve got to say that none of us want to get this. We all want to do the best we can to minimize its spread. But I definitely don’t have as much anxiety as I did when this was all starting when there were so many unknowns," he said.
Arthurs says MultiCare is in good shape staffwise, right now, which is a good thing. He says it’s getting harder to find nurses who are available for hire.