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.

Courtesy of UW School of Medicine

Summer vacation has come early for many students.

For medical students, especially those who have just finished their first years, summers are anything but vacations.

Here's how the coronavirus may affect the summer routines for Spokane students from the University of Washington’s medical school.

Washington Counties Ready To Apply To Level Three

Jun 2, 2020
Washington Department of Health

The Board of Health for Washington’s three northeast counties voted today [Tuesday] to apply for phase three of the state’s four-phase coronavirus reopening protocol.

Tomorrow [Wednesday] is the first day for Washington counties to apply. They must have spent a full three weeks in phase two before they can apply to move up.

Growth In Covid Case Numbers Begins To Slow In Spokane

Jun 1, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

The growth in confirmed Covid cases in Spokane County has slowed a bit. The health district reported six new cases on Monday, one of the smallest totals in the last two weeks. Saturday also showed growth, with only eight confirmations.

Health Officer Bob Lutz says it’s a start.

Spokane Reports 18 New Covid Cases On Saturday

May 29, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

UPDATED: The Spokane Regional Health District reported another 18 cases on Saturday. 

The county has confirmed 588 people have tested positive for the virus over the last two-plus months with 32 deaths. 138 people have tested positive in the week since Spokane County officially elevated to phase two of the state’s four-phase reopening protocol.

Spokane Records 14 More Coronavirus Cases On Thursday

May 28, 2020
Spokane COVID Response/City of Spokane

Spokane health officials announced 14 more confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday. That brings the total count to 540 with 31 fatalities.

It’s the seventh time in the last eight days that the county has registered at least 10 new cases.

State of Idaho


Idaho Governor Brad Little today [Thursday] announced his state is ready to move on to the next phase of its coronavirus reopening plan, beginning Saturday.

“Gatherings of up to 50 people can occur where appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures are observed," Little said.

Spokane Religion News Service Moves Ahead In Covid World

May 28, 2020
Spokane FAVS

On Wednesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee released guidelines for how churches can convene their congregations in person while maintaining physical distancing. Many have turned to video as their main tool for sharing worship services.

Same strategy for Spokane Faith and Values, a news service that focuses on religion in the community. It’s taking advantage of federal coronavirus relief money to keep itself going.

Historic Dayton Theatre Hopes For Summer Reopening

May 27, 2020
Courtesy of Liberty Theatre

The lights have dimmed for a couple of months at the historic Liberty Theatre in Dayton, Washington, due to the coronavirus. But its manager has plans to reopen the doors this summer.

The story of the theatre is similar to that of many other small-town art houses, says manager Mike Ferrians.

Spokane COVID Response

UPDATE: Spokane Regional Health District officials say the county has received word of 14 new confirmed cases on Thursday. The total is now 540, still with 31 deaths.

Courtesy University of Washington

We’re all riding the Covid rollercoaster. Some of us are weathering the ups and downs better than others.

Anne Browning has been guiding University of Washington students through Covid and some of their other issues. Browning is the founding director of her university’s Resilience Lab. Tonight [Wednesday], she will hold a free webinar for people looking for a little stability during these turbulent times.

New Washington State Rules Target Pandemic Violators

May 26, 2020
Washington Department of Labor and Industries

Washington’s state labor agency is targeting businessowners who are willfully ignoring the governor’s pandemic orders.


The Department of Labor and Industries today [Tuesday] issued emergency rules that gives state inspectors the immediate authority to cite and fine offenders.

Palouse Theatre Adapts As It Navigates Covid Restrictions

May 26, 2020
Courtesy of Regional Theatre of the Palouse

With some Washington counties moving to phase two of the state’s Safe Start protocol, arts and humanities groups are looking forward to reopening their doors.

Some of those groups have recently been fortified by federal CARES Act grants, distributed through Humanities Washington.

One of those is the Regional Theatre of the Palouse, which is treading water and making the best of things.

Spokane COVID Response

UPDATE: Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz reports 23 new cases on Wednesday and more than 100 in the last week. No new deaths and eight people are current hospitalized.

Spokane County is now at 526 confirmed Covid cases.

Courtesy of Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture

Some good news for Spokane’s Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. Executive Director Wes Jessup says the museum will be allowed to extend the run of an important exhibit about Mt. Vesuvius. That has been closed since March because of the coronavirus.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Work environments have become difficult for people who risk exposure to the coronavirus every day. They’ve also become difficult for some people in public health.

This week, the online publication Crosscut wrote about the abuse public health workers in Washington are taking from people complaining about messages about physical distancing and staying at home.

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz confirms his department is getting them too.

Courtesy of Spokane Transit

Spokane Transit Authority is getting a $23 million lifeline in the form of emergency funding from the federal government for funding lost from the Covid virus.


The money from Congress was authorized under the Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security Act and it comes at a good time.

Courtesy of Idaho Department of Lands

Washington Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz says the agency is planning for a different kind of wildfire season.

“There is no manual that is written on how do you keep your firefighters safe within the context of this pandemic. They fight fires. They’re eating, sleeping, living and fighting those fires in close quarters," Franz said.

Newport Hospital and Health Services

Beginning today [Monday] hospitals in Washington can go back to doing non-essential procedures not related to Covid-19. They include joint replacements, most eye surgeries and procedures such as colonoscopies.

A doctor at one hospital in northeastern Washington says he's ready to get back to normal.

WA Wildfire Season Already Active; Covid Complicates It

May 14, 2020
Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington state land managers say the wildfire season is already far more active than in normal years.

The Department of Natural Resources reports 263 fires, as of Tuesday. That’s about two-and-a-half times the usual rate for this time of year.

Idaho To Move To Next Covid Recovery Phase On Saturday

May 14, 2020
State of Idaho

Idaho Governor Brad Little says the Gem State will move to the second phase of state’s four-part coronavirus recovery plan on Saturday.

That means businesses such as gyms and hair salons will be able to reopen with the appropriate precautions.

Little made his announcement today [Thursday] and threw in a surprise as well.

Skepticism Abounds Around Contact Tracing And Mask Orders

May 13, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane public health officials are not only battling the coronavirus. They’re also battling skepticism from people questioning the effectiveness of their advice and their motives.

When the Spokane Regional Health District moves to enhance its program for tracing people who test positive for Covid-19, its motives will be questioned.

Missy Nadvornick

Spokane County’s contact tracing program to track people with the coronavirus is set to begin June 15.

Training volunteers to help man the program will start June 1.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.