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Spokane Reports 23 New Covid Cases On Wednesday; Largest Increase In Phase 2 Era

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Spokane COVID Response
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UPDATE: Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz reports 23 new cases on Wednesday and more than 100 in the last week. No new deaths and eight people are current hospitalized.

Spokane County is now at 526 confirmed Covid cases.

Still, if you’re looking for glass half-full notes, here are a few. Tuesday was the first day since last Wednesday that the county hadn’t reported a new count that was 10 or higher. Of 78 new cases reported between May 21 and 25, many attributed to a reported outbreak at a pasta factory, only three are in the hospital.

Health Officer Bob Lutz said he doesn’t think the spike in cases will affect the county’s status as a phase two in the state’s reopening protocol. He says the outbreak appears to have been contained, with no evidence of spread through the community.

That’s something state Health Secretary John Wiesman says he looks for when he learns about an outbreak.

“We’ll end up being concerned if we start interviewing folks and we can’t identify where they became infected. That is, we can’t make the links to other folks. If we see that happening, that is concerning because that is what we might then think of as being community spread," Wiesman said. "If, as we do these case contact investigations, it’s clear, we know who they were with, they were infected, that is something that is much easier to control and respond to.”

State epidemiologist Scott Lindquist says outbreaks in long term care facilities have lessened. Food processing workplaces are now the biggest area of concern. But he says a 10-person state strike team recently finished a two-week stint working with companies in the Yakima area to help them improve their ability to respond to new cases.