SPOKANE, Wash. — With the Omicron variant now the dominant Covid-19 strain in Washington state, the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) released on Tuesday new guidelines for larger school events.
The reason for aiming these guidelines towards schools is because of the potential for a Covid surge within a single district or community.
SRHD reported hospitals are at 97% overall capacity, while the ICU is at almost 100%. About 12% of hospital admissions are Covid-related, up from last week’s 7.5%.
“We're looking at all of the activities that they have, and there are many sports and assemblies and other activities that qualify as a larger event,” said Dr. Francisco Velazquez during a Spokane Regional Health District media briefing Wednesday morning.
SRHD recommends school districts cancel or postpone large events until case rates level out, with the preference of mid to late February.
That recommendation fits into the current modeling trend. According to Dr. Velazquez, Spokane County typically mirrors King County's trends about two to three weeks later.
Currently, it’s expected King County will peak around Jan. 20.
Speaking on the modeling, Dr. Velazquez said models estimate “eastern Washington peaks about February, the first, and then we go on a downward trend 14th and beyond.”
However, he also cautioned that the “modeling is really good but is based on currently available data and the data can change based on what the virus does.”
The second recommendation is requiring any event attendees to show proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours.
The final SRHD recommendation: close concession stands.
“The reason for that is because when you eat or drink is when your mask comes off. Plus, if you're going, you're rushing out there too, you know, get your soft drink and your pretzel and everybody's doing the same thing at the same time. You're all congregating.”
SRHD said these recommendations are only recommendations and the decision to have in-person school events is ultimately up to each school district.
As for the upcoming rivalry matchups, KREM 2 has learned the following school games have been postponed until the week of Feb. 7:
- The GSL Basketball Rubber Chicken game between Ferris High school and Lewis & Clark High School.
- Groovy Shoes game between North Central and Shadle Park high schools
- The Stinky Sneaker game between University and Central Valley high schools.