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Regional News

Spokane Health Officer: COVID Testing Advice To Change This Week

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Spoklane COVID Response
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Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz says advice from the Washington Department of Health about when to test people for the coronavirus is changing.

“There will be new guidance coming out this week to health care professionals that will be talking about the importance of testing anybody, anybody, I emphasize, who has symptoms that are suggestive of COVID-19," Lutz said.

"So, in the past we were very restrictive about saying fever or cough or shortness of breath," he said.

And now that that's loosening, he says, Washington will hope to test more people. That means, he says, that the state and county will have to procure more tests to carry out the new guidelines. This comes just a few days after the state announced it would recall 12,000 COVID-19 test kits that may be tainted. Some of those were sent to local health districts.

“We have certainly received materials from DOH in the past. Whether or not they were some of that tainted lot, we are looking at that. Hopefully we’ll have more information going forward. That was really important information for us to find out,” Lutz said.

Spokane’s health district reports 313 confirmed cases, including 15 new over the weekend, and 17 deaths.

Washington state reports more than 11,700 cases and more than 600 deaths. Yakima County has the highest number of cases in eastern Washington, around 800.

Idaho reports 1,672 confirmed and probable cases, though only four on Sunday and 45 deaths. In north Idaho, Kootenai County leads the way with 51; that’s less than a tenth of the number in the leading county, Ada, and still no deaths in Kootenai County. Nez Perce County has 22 cases, Bonner four and Latah three. Shoshone, Boundary and Benewah have yet to see confirmed cases.