Daily COVID-19 cases hit record high in Spokane Co. with nearly 700 people testing positive

SPOKANE, Wash. —  Daily COVID-19 cases hit record-high levels in Spokane County on Tuesday with 692 more people testing positive. 

This is by far the highest single-day increase in cases the county has seen since the start of the pandemic. Prior to Tuesday, the highest number of people to test positive in one day was reported on Nov. 23, when health officials said 499 people had contracted the virus. 

Officials with the Spokane Regional Health District say the spike in cases is linked to a growing outbreak at the Airway Heights Corrections Center. As of Tuesday, at least 671 people at the facility had tested positive, according to the most recent update from the Department of Corrections, though SRHD has said over 700 cases are linked to the facility. Of those cases, health officials believe at least 238 of Tuesday’s positive cases are connected to the outbreak.

Additionally, health officials believe the recent spike is connected to the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen spikes in cases within two weeks after a holiday,” said Public Information Officer Kelli Hawkins. “These holidays are that much more concerning, because people are gathering indoors rather than outside and we are already in the middle of a surge that is taxing our hospitals.”

This, as a COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow at two Spokane Co. jail facilities. As of Monday night, 52 inmates at Geiger Corrections Center had tested positive; 10 inmates have COVID-19 at the downtown jail. 

READ: COVID-19 outbreak grows in Spokane County jail facilities

Cases also continue to rise in North Idaho, where another 415 people tested positive on Tuesday. According to a White House Task Force report obtained by ABC News, Idaho leads states nationwide with the highest positivity rate, at 10.1 percent. 

In the last week of November, the state had 552 new cases per 100,000 people; the national average is 385 per 100,000. During that same week, an average of 63 people with confirmed COVID-19 were admitted to Idaho hospitals each day. 

READ: White House Task Force Report: Idaho has highest COVID positivity rate in the country