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Moving from the Covid pandemic to endemic phase

Facebook screenshot from Spokane Regional Health District briefing
Dr. Francisco Velazquez during his weekly Facebook Live briefing

Covid case numbers are up in some parts of Washington, but that's not causing concern among health officials.

The post-spring break Covid bump is here, but Spokane County health officials say it’s not an alarming trend.

Health Officer Dr. Francisco Velazquez says, during the last few weeks, the county has had occasional days where the number of new cases has exceeded 100. But he says Spokane County is in a better place than other parts of the state.

“The most significant increases right now are in the western part of the state, particularly King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. There is a pocket of increase also in Yakima, but for the most part, in Spokane, we’ve seen what I would qualify as a modest increase," he said.

This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci joined other health officials around the country in essentially saying the pandemic portion of Covid has ended. Perhaps that’s premature, says Velazquez, given outbreaks in other parts of the country and world. But the trend is there. He says his organization is trying to determine its role in a post-pandemic world.

“How do we continue to provide guidance on activities and risk for individuals and risk for people. When is it important for you to wear a mask? Why is it important for you to be vaccinated and boosted and why is it important for you to make sure you have access to testing?” he said.

Velazquez says Spokane’s hospitalization numbers are stable, between 10 and 15 Covid hospitalizations per day and the county’s hospitals are reporting no capacity issues.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.