COVID cases climb across the nation and in Spokane region

SPOKANE, Wash. – We were nearly in the clear, but now another resurgence of COVID cases are taking over much of the country, hitting unvaccinated people especially hard.

Masks are back on in Los Angeles and the Delta variant is tearing through largely unvaccinated communities. L.A. is seeing its highest number of cases since March. Vacation destinations like Florida and Nevada are also hot spots for the virus and, some vaccinated people are experiencing rare “breakthrough” infections.

In the Spokane community, COVID cases are quantified by the daily average of new cases per day by the Spokane Regional Health Department. The average last week was 29 cases. On Friday, July 15, it was 60 new cases.

Some places are dealing with a significant increase, while in the Spokane region, it’s a minor increase. Regardless, this is still not a good thing, especially as the Delta variant moves in.

Despite those low vaccine rates in Spokane County and even the surrounding counties such as Stevens, Ferry and Garfield, Gov. Jay Inslee said there is no plan right now to bring back the mask mandates like what’s happening in California.

Dr. Francisco Velazquez with Spokane Regional Health Department tells us the increase in cases come from younger people & are due to some of the variants.

“That variant is about 225 percent more effective than the original strain. That’s a very significant number,” he said.

Velazquez also explained that a lot of people feel they’re protected if they had the virus 6-months-ago. That’s not necessarily true though. They might have some immunity, but not necessarily against the variants because the immune response is very specific to the virus of the strain someone had.

“We do know also that vaccines protect not only against the original strain- but also the variants,” he emphasized.

In Washington state, the vaccination rate for those initiating the vaccine over 16-years-old is at 70 percent. In Spokane County, that number is 55.5 percent.  Velazquez is hopeful for more people in the Spokane area getting vaccinated.

“Let’s make it endemic as opposed to the pandemic and that will be a significant change because we don’t want to see here what we’ve seen in other parts of the world,” he said

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