Dr. Bob Lutz

TVW screenshot

A Spokane legislator is promoting a bill that proposes changes to Washington’s public health system.

Representative Marcus Riccelli [D-Spokane] says the legislature has allowed funding for public health to erode over the years, which leaves it vulnerable when it’s most needed. His legislation received a hearing Thursday before the House Health Care Committee.

State Health Board To Investigate Lutz Firing

Nov 9, 2020
Courtesy of Spokane Regional Health District

 

 

The Washington state Board of Health on Monday agreed to open an investigation into last week’s firing of Bob Lutz as Spokane County Health Officer.

Board executive director Michelle Davis says at least two complaints were filed by Spokane residents.

Screenshot of Stuckart complaint

Former Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart and others have filed a complaint with the Washington State Board of Health. They want the board to investigate the process the Spokane Regional Health District used to remove Health Officer Bob Lutz from his job.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Thursday evening’s firing of Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz brought an immediate response from Lutz supporters.

That includes the union that represents more than 120 Spokane Regional Health District employees. It issued a statement of no-confidence in Administrative Officer Amelia Clark.

“It’s not just about Dr. Lutz at this point," said health district epidemiologist Erin Whitehead, a member of the union.

Screenshot from Spokane County Health Board meeting

 

The Spokane County health board has fired Health Officer Bob Lutz, the man who has been the face of the county’s battle against the coronavirus since March.

The eight-to-four vote came after a four-hour proceeding, during which Adminstrative Officer Amelia Clark listed a detailed list of actions that she says warranted Lutz’s removal.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Spokane County Board of Health has set a Thursday, 3 pm meeting to discuss the status of Health Officer Bob Lutz.

The meeting agenda includes several items, including opportunities for Administrative Officer Amelia Clark and Lutz to make presentations (half-hour each). It also lists three "potential action items," including the removal of Lutz as health officer and a replacement for that position.

Former Spokane Health Officer Says He Was Fired

Nov 2, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Former Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz has issued a second statement (see full version below), rebutting some statements made by the Spokane Regional Health District.

Lutz is the Spokane County health officer whose employment is in limbo after the district’s administrative officer told her health board she wants to remove him from his job.

 

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Bob Lutz’s future is in doubt as health officer for the Spokane Regional Health District. The district’s administrative officer has asked him to resign, citing only vague reasons related to job performance.

But Lutz has supporters and many of them showed up at a Sunday afternoon rally outside the health district building.

Spokane Regional Health District

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz released a statement on Saturday saying he has not resigned and has hired attorney Bryce Wilcox to represent him.

What People Are Saying About SRHD/Lutz Situation

Oct 30, 2020
Washington State Medical Association

A wide variety of interests have weighed in on news that the head of the Spokane Regional Health District has asked Health Officer Bob Lutz to resign.

Spokane Regional Health District

UPDATE: 4:45 pm to include letter of support from school superintendents in Educational Service District 101 (see below)

Spokane Regional Health District spokeswoman Kelli Hawkins says the Board of Health has not scheduled a meeting for this afternoon to discuss the Lutz situation. That would require public notification. She says she will provide an update before the end of the day.

The Spokane Regional Health District's administrative officer has reportedly asked Health Officer Bob Lutz to resign. Amelia Clark addressed reporters during a press conference Friday morning.

Courtesy of MultiCare

The latest coronavirus surge in Spokane and north Idaho continues at or near the intensity seen during the region’s mid-summer Covid peak.

Health officials worry that, unless the momentum is reversed, the health system in the Inland Northwest could be overwhelmed. At the moment, they say, Spokane is managing.

Contact Tracers Stressed During Spokane Covid Surge

Oct 15, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

Another triple digit day for new Spokane Covid cases.

The health district today [Thursday] reported 133 new positive tests. It’s the second consecutive day of triple digit cases and a tie for the fourth-highest number of cases in a single day.

Health Officer Bob Lutz says the surge, now about four weeks into it, is putting a lot of pressure on the health district’s contract tracing teams.

Spokane COVID Response

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz says he may reimpose new restrictions due to increases in the county’s number of daily cases.

Today [Wednesday], the health district reported 122 new cases. It’s the seventh day in the last three weeks in which new case numbers hit triple digits. During that time, the case levels have been similar to days in July and August, the peak of the county’s pandemic era.

 

Spokane Regional Health District

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz is letting people know the county may be close to reimposing Covid restrictions.

On Thursday, the health district reported 138 new positive tests, the third-highest mark since the outbreak began. Today [Friday], the district reported 94 cases.

Lutz released a statement Friday that he termed a ‘Come to Jesus’ message.

Spokane Covid Notes: Labor Day Lull And Schools

Sep 29, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

More travels on the Covid roller coaster.

Spokane County reported 61 new Covid cases on Tuesday. It’s the fourth consecutive day in the 60-to-70 range after three straight days with 100 or more.

Hospitalization numbers continue to inch up.

Recent Spokane Covid Increase Driven By Young People

Sep 28, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

After three days of triple digit new Covid cases in Spokane, the weekend and Monday brought better news. The health district reported 192 cases, an average of 64 a day, from Saturday through Monday.

Health Officer Bob Lutz says younger people who test positive are helping to drive recent increases in the count.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane’s two largest school districts have begun preparations to bring kindergarten students back to school the week after next.

The districts acted quickly after Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz announced he supports the immediate, but slow reopening of schools for children in kindergarten through second grade. He talked about that with reporters today [Thursday].

Spokane Public Schools screenshot

Adminstrators at Spokane County's two largest school districts have announced plans to send kindergarten students back to school the week after next. This follows an announcement early Wednesday afternoon that Health Officer Bob Lutz approved of districts slowly phasing in in-person instruction for kindergarten-through-second grade.

Spokane's Post-Labor Day Covid Spike Hits Another High

Sep 23, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

 

Spokane County’s daily coronavirus case number was back in the triple digits on Wednesday. That’s the first time it’s crossed the hundred mark since August 8.

It means the post-Labor Day Covid spike continues to grow in magnitude. And it comes just as the flu season approaches.

More Than 200 New Covid Cases In Spokane Over The Weekend

Sep 21, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

Spokane County’s Labor Day-related Covid spike continued over the weekend.

Health Officer Bob Lutz reported 228 new cases in the three-day Saturday-to-Monday period.

“This is definitely that spike that we, unfortunately, were concerned about. We hope that, we certainly believe, that our counts will go down as we are able to aggressively address these current cases," Lutz said.

Spokane health officials today [Monday] reported the release of improper personal health information.

The health district says it accidentally released the information on September 8 to Educational Service District 101 and one other party.

Dean Hare/WSU Photo Services


This week, the Pacific-12 Conference in college sports may follow other big-name conferences around the country in announcing a shortened fall football season. The conference cancelled its season because of the health risks to the players.

But other conferences around the country have decided the reward is bigger than the risk and have begun modified seasons.

Spokane, North Idaho See Labor Day Covid Increase

Sep 16, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

Spokane may be seeing a bit of a Labor Day Covid bump.

The health district today [Wednesday] reported 62 new cases, the second highest reading in more than a month.

TVW


Washington has crossed the 80,000 threshold in total number of confirmed coronavirus cases. And it recently passed 2,000 Covid fatalities.

Those are two big milestones, but state officials are optimistic about the trends. That leads, again, to speculation that maybe it’s time to allow counties to advance in the reopening protocol.

Spokane Universities Hope To Avoid Covid Surge

Aug 28, 2020
Screenshot from Whitworth YouTube video


Whitman County health officials announced another 41 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. All of them are in the age groups typically associated with college students. That continues the run of Covid-related cases related to the recent return of students at Washington State University’s Pullman campus.

Spokane public health officials hope Spokane’s universities will be able to avoid that kind of outbreak.

Spokane City Council Considering Water Fluoridation

Aug 26, 2020
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Water fluoridation may be in the city of Spokane’s future.

The city council is considering a request by dentists to fluoridate the city’s water supply. The proposal may be added to the council’s agenda as early as next Monday.

Water fluoridation has been proposed – and rejected – before by Spokane residents. Supporters such as Dr. Elisabeth Warder believe it’s time to consider it again.

Courtesy of Gonzaga University

Whitman County public health authorities today [Monday] reported one new Covid case. This comes after a weekend in which a two-day flurry produced 69 new cases, all of them in the age group that indicate college students or other young adults.

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz says he's working with leaders of the Spokane-based institutions to help them avoid what has happened at Washington State University’s Pullman campus.

Spokane Reports Lower Covid Numbers Over The Weekend

Aug 17, 2020
Spokane COVID Response

 

Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz continued today [Monday] to express cautious optimism about the county’s coronavirus situation.

The health district reported 90 new Covid infections over the weekend, including 24 today [Monday]. Those are some of the lowest numbers since mid-June.

Schools, Health Districts Work Closely During Pandemic

Aug 17, 2020
Spokane Regional Health District

Public health officials and school administrators are becoming close colleagues during this Covid pandemic. School districts are relying on advice about reopening classrooms that’s offered by health authorities. The health districts are relying on schools for information about students.

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