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Spokane County surpasses 1,000 Covid deaths

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Spokane Regional Health District
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This week Spokane County reached 1,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Spokane County’s top health official hopes the worst may be over as more people take the vaccine, and more effective treatments become available.

Spokane County’s mortality rate is currently hovering at about 1.4% compared to the national average of about 1.6%. Washington's Covid-19 death rate is about 1.2%.

Dr. Francisco Velazquez, the health officer for the Spokane Regional Health District, says that statistic spiked during the Delta, and other waves.

“It is unfortunate that we’ve had about 1,000 deaths,” Velazquez says, “but we know particularly with Delta, the hospitalization rate has been a little higher, and we also know as we go through these waves of new variants, those who are unvaccinated have a higher probability of catching the disease, a higher probability of developing disease that is severe enough to end up in the hospital, and higher mortality.”

He says Spokane’s vaccination numbers and the recent plateau in hospitalization numbers does offer some encouragement.

“In November of last year, I was talking about we will be getting vaccines in the next few months. We didn’t have those at that point,” Velazquez said. “A year later, when you think about where we are, we have about 60% of our population over 12 that is fully immunized, which I think is an accomplishment. Though it is an accomplishment, it doesn’t mean we need to stop here, we need to keep doing that.”

Spokane’s currently 108 people are hospitalized with Covid-19, about half of the average Covid hospitalizations during the Delta surge.  As of Tuesday evening, SRHD has recorded 1,026 total Covid deaths in the county. There have been 8,858 deaths statewide. About 71.1% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated compared to 60.4% in Spokane County.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.
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