Health District: Community spread of COVID-19 decreasing in Spokane County

SPOKANE, Wash. — There have been about 40-45 new COVID-19 cases reported each day in Spokane County over the last two weeks.

Spokane’s top health officer Dr. Bob Lutz said there has been a drop in testing over the last few weeks, but it’s not because of a lack of capacity.

“I can’t help but think however since we know many people are asymptomatic, up to 40 percent, that’s a contributing factor,” Lutz said.

He truly believes there is less virus spreading in the community.

One indicator of that comes from the rate of positive tests in the county. During the week of August 25, more than 3,100 people were tested, and about 7 percent of them have COVID-19. That number was once as high as 20 percent.

“Which is telling me and telling all of us, the amount of community spread has dropped significantly.” Lutz said.

Other numbers show positive signs, too. Spokane County is seeing about 103 cases for every 100,000 people, and that number was at 223 just one month ago.

“COVID-19 is exquisitely sensitive to behavior change,” Lutz said. “People have really taken the mask order, for the most part, seriously and I do believe that’s made a significant impact.”

Wearing a mask in public has made moving onto Phase 3 a reality once again for Spokane. But to get there, the county has to get it’s case rate closer to 25.

“It’s gonna take a lot of work to get down there, honestly,” Lutz said.

That’s because Spokane has seen it’s largest rise in cases after holiday weekends.

In fact, more than 2,300 people in the county tested positive for COVID-19 between the 5th of July and August 1.

That’s why it’s important to celebrate this holiday weekend responsibly.

“Celebrate cautiously, celebrate in small groups and celebrate with people you know in small groups,” Lutz said.

This is also important as deaths continue to rise slightly in Spokane Co, specifically among the older population.

128 people have died from the virus in the county and all but two of them were older than 50.