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Health Officials Confirm 14 New Spokane Covid Cases On Thursday

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Spokane COVID Response
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UPDATE: Spokane Regional Health District officials say the county has received word of 14 new confirmed cases on Thursday. The total is now 540, still with 31 deaths.

Spokane County health officials on Wednesday reported 23 new cases of Covid-19. It’s the largest one-day count since Spokane moved into phase two of the state’s reopening protocol.

Health Officer Bob Lutz says many of the cases are linked to the outbreak at a macaroni plant in northeast Spokane. As of Tuesday afternoon, he says 35 people who worked there had tested positive; 40%-50% of them did not show symptoms of the virus.

Spokane has now had more than 100 confirmed cases in the last week and six of seven days have seen new cases number in the double digits. Lutz says increased testing and more liberalized testing criteria have also played a factor in that.

Will the spike in new cases endanger Spokane County’s status at phase two of the state’s four-phase reopening protocol. Lutz doesn’t think so. He says the state Department of Health has supported the measures local officials have taken to quell the outbreak. But, as to whether mid-June is a realistic date for a move to phase three, as suggested by Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward, he says it’s probably too early to think about that. June 12 would be three weeks to the day after Spokane moving to phase two, the minimum amount of time the state says counties need before advancing to a new level.

At a Wednesday press briefing, Lutz was asked about removing restrictions in several other areas, from playgrounds to summer camps. He says he’s had conversations with the city of Spokane about allowing the use of Lime scooters again this spring. He’s wary about congregations of people at city and county pools, but bullish about allowing people to use those pools for lap swimming. He also said that he might support some form of summer camps if the proper distancing restrictions can be worked out.