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Regional News

Spokane Covid Cases Nudge Up This Week In Advance Of Phase 3 Re-Evaluation

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Spokane COVID Response
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Spokane County topped the 100 mark in new Covid cases for the second consecutive day. The timing isn't good, given that Washington state health authorities will soon decide whether counties will continue in Phase 3 of the state's reopening protocols or slip back to Phase 2.The health district reported 104 new cases today [Thursday]. Wednesday’s count was 103.

Those numbers would have been cause for celebration during the period between November and February, when the counts were routinely in triple digits. But for the last month or so, the numbers have been in the 40-to-80 range.

Also notable, Spokane County’s two-week case rate has increased to 211 cases per 100-thousand residents. That’s one of the state’s metrics for assessing counties. To remain in Phase 3 of the state’s Covid reopening plan, that number must be less than 200, says Lacy Fehrenbach, the state’s deputy secretary for Covid response.

“When we look at our data, there are a handful of counties that are sort of at the threshold or above the threshold for case rates or hospitalizations and there is a decent likelihood that a handful will potentially be moved back on Monday when we announce," Fehrenbach said.

State health officials say the higher numbers in many places are due to an increase in infections among younger people. Health Secretary Umair Shah says hospitalizations are increasing among people in their 20s and 30s, while the number of older residents receiving care has decreased.