Idaho Offers Cash Incentives To Get People Back To Work

Jun 5, 2020
Idaho Public Television

Idaho Governor Brad Little today [Friday] announced cash incentives for people who are currently collecting unemployment benefits, despite being called back to their jobs.

“The one-time return-to-work bonuses will be provided to the worker upon return to the workplace," he said.

Spokane County has 57 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to Health Officer Bob Lutz. That pushes the county over the 700 mark.

Lutz attributes some of that to increased activity during a nice Memorial Day, now nearly two weeks in the past. And some, he says, is simply due to more testing.

Coeur d'Alene Tribe

In north Idaho, the Panhandle Health District says it has detected cases of community transmission in two new counties, Benewah and Bonner. That’s when epidemiogists determine the infection was passed between community members and not initiated from an outside source.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The efforts by the state of Washington to secure equipment for Covid testing continue to be spotty. State officials say the federal government sent only a fraction of the promised supplies in May.

Meanwhile, a Spokane Native health leader says she’s also having difficulty getting the test equipment her clinic needs.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Many people have turned to alternative ways of buying groceries. Instead of going to a supermarket, some have them delivered. Others call in orders and then go pick them up.

Many of those services are offered by national or regional outlets, such as Amazon, Walmart and Fred Meyer. But a Spokane-area company is also offering grocery delivery services on a smaller scale.