WSU College of Medicine

Spokane public health officials have recruited medical and nursing students to be part of an enhanced contact tracing team. Their job will be to contact and follow people who test positive for the coronavirus.

One Washington State University medical student is already involved in a similar effort.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A Spokane company is sending free glucose necklaces to diabetic first responders and health care workers around the nation.  

Kris Maynard is the owner of Glucose Revival and a diabetic firefighter. He created the necklaces for diabetics who wanted an easy-to-get-to source of glucose that they can consume when they need it. He calls the necklaces a diabetic’s version of personal protective equipment.

Courtesy of LINC Foods

Grocery shopping has changed for people who want to stay away from crowded supermarkets. Many have turned to delivery and pick up options, some of those offered by national outlets.

One Spokane cooperative is offering those options to people who want to buy from local farmers.

Spokane County Asks State For Coronavirus Variance

May 11, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

UPDATED with comments from Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward and Commissioner Al French. 

Spokane County’s commissioners voted this morning [Tuesday] to ask Washington Health Secretary John Wiesman to allow the county to move to the next step as it emerges from coronavirus restrictions.

The county wants the same sort of variance that was granted to eight other counties. That would allow them to move directly to phase two of the state’s four-phase reopening plan.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee is hearing from leaders of the Trump administration's coronavirus response about safely reopening the country. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are among those testifying. Watch the proceedings live around 7 a.m. PT.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee is hearing from leaders of the Trump administration's coronavirus response about safely reopening the country. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are among those testifying. Watch the proceedings live.

King County Encourages Face Masks In Public

May 11, 2020
Missy Nadvornick

Seattle and King County officials today [Monday] urged residents to wear face masks whenever they’re in indoor public spaces and not able to get proper distancing from others.

County Executive Dow Constantine says the goal is to protect workers in places where they come in close contact with customers.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Trump and White House officials deliver remarks and take questions regarding coronavirus testing. The briefing comes as states continue to debate when and how to relax restrictions and reopen their economies. Watch the briefing live starting around 1 p.m. PT.

Washington Department of Health

Washington state Health Department officials today [Monday] granted Stevens County the variance it sought to move to the second phase of the state's four-phase reopening plan.

Health Secretary John Wiesman announced Stevens can join Wahkiakum and Skamania Counties in moving to the next phase.


Washington Governor Jay Inslee delivered some good news this afternoon [Friday] to five counties in eastern Washington.

“Today, Secretary of Health John Wiesman approved variances for five counties: Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Ferry, Garfield and Columbia. Others are now getting a little bit further reviews: Skamania, Kittitas and Wahkiakum.”

Second Big Health Issue Looming: Wildfires

May 8, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz has plenty to worry about with managing the local public health response to the coronavirus. But now he has another issue on his radar screen: wildfires.

Lutz is regularly on the phone with Washington Department of Health officials about Covid-related issues. But Thursday afternoon, he was also preparing to talk with them about the upcoming wildfire season.


Elected leaders in Spokane County say they’re looking for specifics as to how they can convince the state to allow more businesses to open soon. Spokane’s mayor says the governor has imposed a strict standard that probably isn’t attainable. Others think he hasn’t yet finalized what he wants from larger counties.

Tri-County Health District

Northeast Washington’s Tri-County Health District has submitted a request to allow three counties to move ahead with reopening their economies.

The Tri-County Health District submitted a variance Tuesday on behalf of Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties. All want to be allowed to skip phase one of the state’s reopening process, which began Tuesday, and move right to phase two.

Spokane COVID Response

Several eastern Washington mayors met virtually today [Tuesday] with Governor Jay Inslee. It’s part of their quest to convince him to allow their counties to move more quickly in reopening their local businesses and economies.

EWU Says It Will Focus On Online Learning This Fall

May 5, 2020
Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University says it will make online instruction the top priority for fall quarter, continuing on with its approach to teaching this spring.

Provost David May says administrators are following the advice of health experts on campus.

Gizmo Continues In Major "Making" Mode

May 5, 2020
Courtesy of Gizmo

A few weeks ago, we told you about Gizmo, the Coeur d’Alene-based non-profit innovation lab that was making face shields for first responders and health care workers in Kootenai County.

“It’s just been a high-energy time of transferring our knowledge and re-creating things in a better way. It’s just been beautiful," said Gizmo co-owner Barb Mueller.

We checked in again a few days ago and found that Gizmo is busier than ever.

Spokane COVID Response

Idaho and Washington are each moving into new phases in their quests to recover from the coronavirus.

Idaho entered its first phase yesterday [Monday] and Washington enters its first phase today.

Tri-County Health District

The health board that governs Washington’s three northeastern counties has taken the first step toward reopening businesses.

The Tri-County Board of Health voted today [Monday] to allow its health district to formally apply for a variance from the state’s four-step plan for exiting coronavirus restrictions and move more quickly than other counties. Phase one goes into effect statewide on Tuesday.

Courtesy of West Plains Roasters

Paycheck Protection Program money is now trickling down to businesses in the Inland Northwest. The cash allows companies to keep workers on the payroll for a couple of months while they re-establish themselves.

Today, Doug Nadvornick profiles two PPP recipients, one in the Spokane area, one in north Idaho.

Missy Nadvornick

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the state will only be able to move away from coronavirus-related restrictions if it can improve in two areas: testing and contact tracing.

In the case of testing, the governor’s directive to test more people for Covid-19 has set in motion a big logistical project.


The doctor in charge of a research trial in Washington for an anti-coronavirus drug says results presented Wednesday are similar to what he’s seeing.

MultiCare is one of several health care providers around the country testing the drug Remdesivir with its patients who have Covid-19. Most of the 53 in Washington who have been given the drug are west of the mountains, but there are a handful in Spokane as well, says Dr. Vinay Malhotra, the study’s principal investigator.

Courtesy of Spokane Regional Health District

Spokane County’s mobile coronavirus testing clinic will be closed for the next three days while health officials prepare it for a new operator.

Health Officer Bob Lutz says, beginning Monday, members of the Washington Air National Guard will man the station and take samples from customers who drive up.

Spokane Valley Fire Department

A Spokane Valley firefighter has channeled his inner teacher during this coronavirus outbreak. For the last month, Rick Freier has taught Friday lessons about fire and firefighting to school children who are quarantined at home. Tomorrow [Friday] is his final tutorial.

Courtesy of Spokane County

Spokane County has sent a letter to Governor Jay Inslee asking him to allow certain businesses to immediately reopen.

The letter from the Spokane County commissioners cites the progress Spokane has made in reducing the rate of increase of confirmed Covid cases.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Washington’s Secretary of State says attempts to shut down or privatize the U.S. Postal Service would hurt the Evergreen State’s ability to conduct elections by mail.

Kim Wyman and her counterpart in Vermont today [Wednesday] called for Congress to provide economic stimulus money to the agency so it can continue to remain viable.

The Dos and Don'ts Of Cleaning Masks

Apr 28, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

Mask etiquette and hygiene have become conversation topics on Zoom and on the Internet as people wonder what’s the best way to keep their face wear clean.

A Spokane Fire Department deputy chief says there are definitely mask sanitizing no-nos. He showed a few of them to reporters on Tuesday.

Courtesy of MultiCare

MultiCare is asking people who have recovered from the coronavirus to consider giving blood for a new research therapy it’s testing with Covid-19 positive patients in Washington.

That therapy is called ‘convalescent plasma.’

Whitworth University

Whitworth University says it plans to welcome students back to campus this fall and hold in-person classes.

The north Spokane school joins Gonzaga in making their fall plans public. Washington State and the University of Idaho are also leaning that way.


Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced today [Monday] that some of the state’s recreation areas will reopen, beginning May 5.

"The restrictions being lifted today include day use of our state parks, day use of our state lands that are managed by the Department of Natural Resources and day use of state fish and wildlife areas. This includes fishing, hunting and the ability to play golf, as well," Inslee said.

Courtesy of Paul Brennan

Spokane’s construction industry is preparing to increase its activity again soon, now that Governor Inslee has announced that some ongoing construction projects can continue with appropriate safety measures taken.

Cheryl Stewart is the executive director of Spokane’s chapter of the Association of General Contractors. During a media briefing Monday, Stewart said companies are doing the prep work they need to do.