Dr. Bob Lutz

Spokane COVID Response

Spokane has crossed the four thousand mark in confirmed coronavirus cases over the last four months, but there may be room for optimism.

After a record high 145 cases reported on Friday, the health district reported 187 positive tests from Saturday-through-Monday, an average of about 60 a day. That’s an improvement over the average daily counts for the last four weeks or so.

But there is one trend for concern: the slow, continued growth in the number of people hospitalized for Covid.

Spokane COVID Response

Spokane County has set another one-day record for confirmed Covid cases. The health district reports 146 cases and two more deaths. That makes 14 deaths and 34 new hospitalizations of Spokane County residents over the last week.

Health Officer Bob Lutz doesn’t expect things to change anytime soon.

Courtesy of MultiCare

Spokane County has hit a mini-plateau when it comes to new Covid cases. County health officials reported 82 new cases on Wednesday, the fifth consecutive day in the eighties or less.

Health Officer Bob Lutz says the number of hospitalizations continues to inch up, with 63 active cases in Spokane on Wednesday, including 28 from outside the county.

Spokane Regional Health District

Another day, another big batch of Covid cases in Spokane.

The health district reported 91 new cases on Monday, on top of 85 on Saturday, 61 on Sunday and 133 on Friday.

Many of the people infected are in the 20-to-40 age range. You can conclude, therefore, that the health district’s message of "wear a mask" and "don’t gather in large groups" isn’t working.

Health officials are trying to find a better way to market to young adults.

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.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane County health officials say a new survey shows fewer people are wearing face coverings in public.

Health Officer Bob Lutz says the health district last week sent out volunteers to several venues around the county to observe and count how many people were wearing masks.

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.

Spokane COVID Response/City of Spokane

Spokane County health authorities are urging people who go to get tested for Covid to assume they’re positive and stay home until they hear otherwise.

Health Officer Bob Lutz says many labs that test the samples are so busy that they’re not able to return results for a week or more.

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'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. 

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.

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.

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.

Courtesy of MultiCare

Spokane County health officials say a new public Covid testing site will open to the public tomorrow [Friday] in Airway Heights. Health Office Bob Lutz says it replaces the public drive-through site at the county Fairgrounds that closed a few weeks ago.

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.

Spokane COVID Response

Spokane County reported nine more confirmed Covid cases on Monday, pushing the total to 842.

Health Officer Bob Lutz attributed part of that today [Monday] to more testing. He says providers around the county have tested about 6,000 people in the three weeks since Memorial Day, compared to about 4,000 in the preceding three weeks.

Lutz says there’s one new trend.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.