Spokane COVID response 4-6-20 Lutz

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz says that while health officials are reporting a "leveling" of COVID-19 cases in the state of Washington, case numbers continue to rise in eastern Washington.

During Monday's Spokane COVID Response briefing, Dr. Lutz said there are 222 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Spokane County, with one more death reported and 35 hospitalizations. Lutz said the latest COVID-related death, the 12th in the county, was a man in his 90's.

Lutz pointed out some discrepancy from reports stating that there has been a "flattening of the curve" for COVID-19 cases in Washington state, saying numbers in eastern Washington have been rising, but not so much exponentially. Lutz says dozens of new cases have been confirmed locally based on testing strategies, and Yakima County particularly has seen a significant impact with over 300 cases. 

"I think we are not seeing an overall flattening of the curve at the local level, although when I look at it from a state level we certainly see that the number of cases appear to be decreasing on the west side and Puget Sound region," Lutz said.

Lutz made note of recent CDC guidelines on using homemade masks in public, saying they are more effective for someone who is asymptomatic from spreading infections.

"I think it's important consideration when you're out in community settings, where although you are still practicing social distancing, you do find yourselves interacting with other people," Dr. Lutz said while encouraging to use the CDC mask guidelines in public. "It also sends a message that you really care about the members in your community that you could be impacting."

Lutz also mentioned to stay tuned for rapid COVID-19 tests locally, saying the machinery is available, but the materials required to run the tests are not yet available.