COVID-19

Rebecca White/SPR

The Center for Disease Control is now recommending everyone, vaccinated or not, wear masks while indoors due to an increase in infections driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Dr. Francisco Velazquez, the Spokane Regional Health District’s interim health officer, said the Delta, as well as other variants, have been detected in Spokane County.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

After loosening masking recommendations for vaccinated people, the CDC is now urging people in areas with high COVID-19 case rates to put on a face mask when indoors.

WSU Football Coach Talks Covid Vaccination At Media Day

Jul 27, 2021
Screenshot from Pac-12 Conference

Today [Tuesday] football coaches and star players in the Pacific-12 Conference met with reporters to talk about and promote the upcoming season.

Washington State University coach Nick Rolovich was among them. But football was only part of what he talked about.

Idaho Public TV screenshot

Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin is trying to convince legislative leaders to reconvene to consider legislation barring private employers from requiring workers to be vaccinated to stay employed. A prominent business group is opposing her.

Flickr Creative Commons

Health care outreach workers in Spokane say they’re trying new methods to get skeptical non-vaccinated people to get their Covid shots.

Selina Leem from the health district says one strategy that has paid off in Spokane’s Marshallese community is to enlist the support of church leaders.

TVW

A college student in Spokane is one of a handful of vaccinated people across the state to win a $250,000 prize for getting a shot.

In a news conference Thursday, the winner, only identified by the Governor’s Office as Marissa P, addressed the public alongside Governor Jay Inslee.

“Well like he said, my names Marissa, I’m from Spokane, I’m pre-nursing and I’m so honored to be here, I feel so blessed to be here. I just want to say stay healthy, stay safe and go get vaccinated.”

Washington Bucks The National Covid Variant Trend

Jun 23, 2021
TVW screenshot

Washington health officials say the state is bucking the trend when it comes to which of the Covid variants is more prevalent here.

Vaccine shot
Flickr / US Army Corps of Engineers

As Washington state’s vaccination rate approaches 70%, many more rural counties are lagging behind. Health officials are hoping trusted relationships with physicians will close that gap.

Courtesy of Spokane Airports

Most school children are out of school for the summer. Now it’s time for summer activities. With Covid-related restrictions going away in Washington on June 30, many children will take trips, go to summer camp and do other things without masks. What is safe and what precautions should families take?

Courtesy of MultiCare

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the state will drop all coronavirus-related restrictions by June 30 at the latest.

But Cassie Sauer from the Washington State Hospital Association says, even after that date, mask mandates will remain in effect in most, if not all, hospitals in the state.

Otto Kitsinger/Idaho STEM Action Center

This week, teachers in north Idaho are learning a variety of new skills in math, science and technology to share with their students in the fall.
 
The state school superintendent’s office has brought back its STEM summer institutes after a year away because of Covid.

Courtesy of American Red Cross

American Red Cross officials say they are urgently looking for blood donors right now.

They say there's a shortage caused by an increase in demand, combined with fewer people donating during the Covid pandemic.

Vaccine shot
Flickr / US Army Corps of Engineers

Washington state officials are warning residents to beware of scammers impersonating lottery workers, saying there have been several scams reported since the state rolled out its COVID-19 vaccine lottery.

“We will never ask you for personal information over the phone, or by email, or by text. We’re not going to ask you for your date of birth, your social security number, your phone number, your address, your banking information, your mother’s maiden name, none of that kind of thing."

Governors Inslee, Little Say Idaho And Washington Nearing COVID-19 Goals

Jun 10, 2021
TVW

More than two-thirds of Washington residents 16 and older have had at least their first COVID shots. That puts the state just four percentage points away from 70%, the goal Governor Jay Inslee established to reopen the state before June 30.

Rebecca White/SPR

At the beginning of the pandemic, when the nation faced rampant unemployment, both landlord and tenant advocates predicted a tsunami of housing issues would overwhelm the courts, homeless, and housing services.

Those advocates are hoping that millions in rental assistance and several tenant laws that go into effect this summer in Washington could resolve that anticipated wave of evictions. But many fear that help won’t be ready in time.

Idaho Economy Continues To Improve, Says Governor

Jun 9, 2021
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Idaho Governor Brad Little says his state’s economy is booming as it continues to move past the Covid pandemic. 

Little’s office on Wednesday released new figures that show the Gem State collected nearly $600 million more in tax revenue than expected in May.

TVW

Washington State will offer lottery drawings and other prizes for people who are vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a press conference Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee said the prizes, which include money, gaming systems, tuition and tickets to sporting events, will encourage immunization.

Vaccine Clinics Available at Spokane Fire Stations

Jun 2, 2021
Rebecca White/SPR

Spokane residents can now get vaccinated at fire stations in their own neighbohoods. 

At the first vaccine clinic at a fire staion in northeast Spokane, Mayor Nadine Woodward said she hopes bringing shots directly to the communiy will make getting vaccinated easier, and bring Spokane one step closer to re-opening.

"We want to continue to push the importance of vaccines in our community. Spokane County is at 50% initial vaccination. We need to get to that 70% statewide in order to fully open June 30."

Courtesy of Coeur d'Alene School District

Students at Coeur d’Alene’s Lake City High School got a one-day reprieve from wearing masks Friday. But they’ll have to put them back on when they return Tuesday.

WA Senator Wants To Make Food Aid For Kids Permanent

May 26, 2021
Courtesy of Washington Department of Social and Health Services

Washington Senator Patty Murray wants to turn temporary summer and pandemic free meals programs for children into permanent fixtures.

Murray is sponsoring what she calls the Stop Child Hunger Act.

Screenshot from Spokane Regional Health District

Spokane County health officials today [Wednesday] urged people to get vaccinated against Covid, as the county trails behind the state average for vaccination.

Courtesy of NPR

Washington State University researchers say one of the casualties of the Covid pandemic is regular screening for breast cancer. They say about half as many women in Washington received mammograms during the pandemic, compared to the year before.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Idaho Governor Brad Little came to Post Falls today [Friday] to celebrate his and the legislature’s accomplishments during the session that recently concluded.

“Education, tax relief, infrastructure, those three things. Some of it was a little painful, but that’s part of the process, the process in a constitutional three-branch government, bicameral legislature that exists," he said.

All Washington Counties Now Back In Phase 3

May 18, 2021
Courtesy of Washington Department of Health

All Washington counties are now officially back in Phase 3 of the state’s coronavirus reopening protocol.

The state Department of Health today [Tuesday] officially elevated four counties from Phase 2.

Rebecca White/SPR

Hundreds of students, the youngest of which just became eligible this week, were vaccinated Friday at the Spokane Public Schools Pfizer immunization clinic.

Spokane Transit is offering free rides to people who need help getting to a Covid vaccination appointment.

The agency says, from now until June 12, it will offer door-to-door rides as an incentive with a second free ride a few weeks later if the vaccine recipient receives a dose of Pfizer or Moderna.

People who take advantage of this will ride on S-T-A’s paratransit vans. The agency says up to three passengers will be aboard, sitting at least six feet apart. Passengers must wear masks while onboard.

Remembering N. Idaho's 1997 Pertussis Outbreak

May 12, 2021
Courtesy of DeNene Banger and Randi Lustig

Longtime north Idaho residents may recall that, about a generation ago, their region suffered a communicable disease outbreak that has some similarities to our current Covid pandemic.

Two retired public health nurses have just published a book that looks back at that time.

Courtesy of Dr. Vin Gupta

A Seattle pulmonary doctor says it may be necessary to tweak Covid vaccine marketing strategies to appeal to the younger people who are now, and will soon be, eligible for shots.

Dr. Vin Gupta will share that message tonight [Wednesday] with a Spokane audience. Gupta is a critical care physician who is on the faculty of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Idaho Moves To Covid Phase 4

May 11, 2021
Courtesy of State of Idaho

Idaho is moving to the next phase in its coronavirus reopening plan.

The Department of Health and Welfare says the state will move to Stage 4.

Covid Vaccine Notes For Younger Patients

May 11, 2021
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Health care providers are preparing for an increased demand for Covid vaccine now that 12-to-15-year-olds are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Schools are among those that are stepping up to fill that demand.

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