Coronavirus Updates and Information

See the latest news pertaining to the coronvirus and find resources to help you and your community.

Stay Connected and Informed:

In the spirit of “putting our own airline masks on first before helping others,” SPR is also taking proactive steps to limit potential exposure here at the station. These steps include heightened sanitary measures, limiting traffic through the station, as well as discontinuing live performances and interviews for the moment. You may also notice some small changes in our programs as we work to maintain a high level of service—and to do it safely.

Spokane City Launches Covid Relief Money Survey

Jul 21, 2020
City of Spokane

Spokane city officials today [Tuesday] launched a new survey to ask residents how the city should spend its federal coronavirus relief money.

Mayor Nadine Woodward says the city received $6.6 million in CARES Act money.

Public Health Institute

Spokane public health officials have contracted with an Oakland, California-based company to help epidemiologists here trace a growing number of Covid cases.

Spokane is the fourth Northwest county to hire the Public Health Institute to help with contact tracing.

Spokane COVID Response

Spokane County has blown past its previous high in confirmed coronavirus cases.

The Spokane Regional Health District reported 134 new cases on Friday and one new death.

Brownes Addtion Concert Series

 

Washington Governor Jay Inslee's office has modified rules for venues that feature entertainment that strictly prohibit live music in areas that are still in phase two - or even phase three - designations because of the Covid virus.

Spokane Regional Health District

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz says the health district will soon get more outside help with its work to trace people who test positive for Covid.

“We’re working with an organization called the Public Health Institute that was referred to me by a colleague in the state, where they have had very good luck in working with them," Lutz said.

Idaho Public Television

Idaho Governor Brad Little today [Thursday] announced the Gem State will stay where it is in its recovery from the coronavirus.

“Over the past two weeks, Idaho did not meet the criteria to advance past the final stage of the Idaho Rebounds plan. We will remain in stage four for at least another two weeks," the governor said.

State epidemiologist Christine Hahn cited the rise in Covid cases in Idaho over the last two weeks.

Missy Nadvornick

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz is looking for 80% of county residents to wear masks as they’re out and about. That, he says, is the minimum needed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Right now, his rough guess is that about 65% of people are masking up.

Spokane County Sets Covid Record On Sunday

Jul 5, 2020
Courtesy of Spokane Regional Health District

Spokane County reported a record 98 confirmed Covid cases on Sunday. That’s 17 more than the previous mark, set earlier last week.

The 20-to-29 age group continues to be the leader in the demographic count with more than a quarter of the county’s 1,668 cases.

Spokane's Covid Count Expands By 70 On Thursday

Jul 2, 2020
Spokane Regional Health District

UPDATE: Washington Governor Jay Inslee has required businesses statewide to require their employees and customers to wear face coverings.  

The Spokane Regional Health District reported 70 new Covid cases today [Thursday]. It’s the third day in the last four that that figure has been 70 or more.

Health Officer Bob Lutz says people younger than 40 continue to account for a large number of the cases.

Spokane COVID Response

Spokane County health officials are bracing for another holiday weekend and wondering if it will lead to the same results as the last holiday weekend.

Spokane County had just moved to phase 2 of the reopening protocol heading into Memorial Day and the case numbers have since rapidly risen.

Another Record High One-Day For Covid In Spokane

Jun 30, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

Spokane County set a new record today [Tuesday] for confirmed coronavirus cases. Health officials reported 81 new cases, breaking yesterday’s record. It means 160 people have been confirmed positive during the last two days.

To contrast, the county registered about 140 new cases from April 13 to May 20.

Spokane Posts Highest One-Day Confirmed Covid Case Count

Jun 29, 2020
Spokane COVID Response/City of Spokane


Spokane County today [Monday] reported the highest one-day total of new Covid cases: 79, pushing the overall total to 1,302.

The number of people hospitalized is 37, 18 of those Spokane County residents.

While the hospitalization number has been inching up, Health Officer Bob Lutz says Spokane’s situation is not like that in cities where the hospitals are overwhelmed, such as Houston. 

State of Washington

UPDATE: Saturday 2:15 pm:

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says, due to the spread of Covid-19 in some parts of the state, he has ordered a pause in the process of moving counties in phase three of the coronavirus progression to phase four.

Eight rural counties are eligible to move to phase four, but Inslee says, due to the ability of people to move from county to county, that this is not a good time to allow counties to remove all Covid-related restrictions.

Inslee: Spokane "On The Verge Of A Dire Situation"

Jun 25, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says Spokane County has a Covid problem.  

“Spokane is right on the verge of a very dire situation because of this pandemic. It is right on the verge of a runaway pandemic," Inslee said.

The number of Covid-related hospitalizations in Spokane County continues to inch up.

Today [Thursday], Health Officer Bob Lutz reported 30 people are receiving care, up two from Wednesday. Eighteen of them are Spokane County residents, up three from Wednesday. Ten are in intensive care.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane County will soon distribute face coverings to local non-profits to distribute to individuals whose income is 200% or less of the federal poverty level. Simone Ramel-McKay from the emergency management division says her office expects to receive about 320,000 masks next month.

Pediatricians Watch For Covid-Related Illness In Children

Jun 24, 2020
Pennsylvania Department of Health

Pediatricians are on the lookout for more cases of a Covid-related virus that has afflicted a handful of children in the Northwest.

It’s called Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in children and it shows up after a child has contracted Covid.

Video shot from Spokane Regional Health District

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz says he doesn’t believe social justice protests have contributed much to the consistent rise in the number of Covid cases in the county.

During a media briefing Wednesday, Lutz said tracers have been able to tie five confirmed cases to the initial protest on May 31.

U.S. Justice Department

A federal judge in Boise today [Tuesday] ruled in favor of an initiative campaign that wants to require the state to devote more money to public schools.

Spokane Now Two Confirmed Covid Cases Short of 1,000

Jun 22, 2020
Spokane COVID Response


Spokane County is now two confirmed Covid cases away from a thousand, with 22 new cases reported today [Monday] and 157 during the last seven days.

Spokane’s consistent increases come at a time when some elected officials, particularly the three county commissioners, are pushing the health officer to move forward in the process toward phase three.

Providence Supports Staying At Phase Two For Now

Jun 19, 2020
Providence Health and Services

Providence Health Care has issued a statement in support of Spokane County staying at phase two of Washington’s reopening protocol.

Providence said it supports the decision by the Regional Health District and Health Officer Bob Lutz to stay at level two for now.

Washington Department of Corrections

Is Spokane County ready to move to the next phase of Washington’s coronavirus reopening protocol? County commissioners and Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward say yes. Health Officer Bob Lutz is skeptical. 

Lutz cites the doubling of the number of confirmed cases since the Memorial Day weekend. But he’s also worried about another factor.

Spokane County Commissioners Push To Move To Level Three

Jun 17, 2020
Spokane County Commissioners

Spokane County’s commissioners today formally asked Health Officer Bob Lutz to initiate the process to move the county to level three of the state’s reopening plan.

In the letter signed by all three commissioners, the trio say they believe the "clear majority" of hospitals and businesses are ready to move to phase three. They say those companies are following the strict sanitary and spacing guidelines needed to keep their customers safe.

Washington Department of Health

 

 

The state of Washington has opened a new statewide toll-free telephone hotline for people who are struggling during the Covid pandemic.

One of the partners is Spokane’s Frontier Behavioral Health, where Kelli Miller is chief administrative officer.

Spokane COVID Response

UPDATED: Monday 3 pm

Spokane County added nine new Covid cases on Monday. That, added to 31 reported over the weekend, continues the steady increase in confirmed cases since the county moved to phase two of the state’s reopening strategy. The official count is now 842.

The trend in Spokane has caught the attention of the Washington Department of Health.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Washington’s state school superintendent say students are going back to school this fall. On Thursday, Chris Reykdal announced his coronavirus advice for school districts.

Later in the day, the Community Colleges of Spokane became the latest institution of higher education to announce that they, too, will welcome students back to the classroom this fall.

Covid has greatly complicated the process of teaching students and keeping them safe.

Photo Heather Keen

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is making a special effort to keep its elders safe from the Covid virus. 

 

The tribe's Older Americans Program is working in conjunction with its Miramn Health Clinic to provide special Covid Safety Packs to tribal members older than age 55.

Idaho To Move To Phase 4 Reopening On Saturday

Jun 11, 2020
State of Idaho

Idaho Governor Brad Little has announced his state will move to the final phase of its reopening strategy, beginning Saturday.

“One hundred percent of businesses will be able to open their doors as we enter stage four of our Idaho Rebounds plan."

Masks Now Required At Washington Workplaces

Jun 9, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A new rule requiring employees in Washington to wear masks in the workplace took effect today.

“It’s stratified by going from essentially very low risk to high risk," said Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz at a media briefing.

Spokane COVID Response/City of Spokane

The counties surrounding Spokane have again moved a level ahead in the state’s coronavirus reopening protocol.

Whitman was the latest to move to level three on Saturday. Spokane is eligible on Friday to apply for level three. But County Health Officer Bob Lutz says Spokane isn’t ready yet.

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