SPOKANE, Wash — Spokane County saw its first coronavirus cases on March 14, 2020. Since then, the county has seen two significant spikes in cases: once over the summer and one that's happening right now.
The Spokane Regional Health District data dashboard shows the county’s first spike was only about one month long. The latest spike is still happening, and though it’s 15 days longer than the first spike, it’s amounted to 2,393 more cases than the first spike so far.
The two-week case rate in Spokane County is also higher right now than it was during the summer spike, according to SRHD spokesperson Kelli Hawkins.
Hawkins said there are a number of factors playing into the current spike in cases.
"When you include pandemic fatigue, rising case numbers and cold weather that bring everyone indoors, this current spike is worse. Many people continue to not follow the health measures that can help prevent spread," Hawkins said. "Wearing masks, physically distancing and washing hands are more important than ever as the weather cools and people are more inclined to gather indoors where the air circulation is not good. We continue to see outbreaks among gatherings in homes and among friends and family that then spread in workplaces and other public places."
Case counts over 100 climb in Spokane County
The health district recorded nine days where daily cases totals were greater than 100 from March 14 through September, data shows. That's nine times in 201 days.
In the 40 days since Oct. 1, Spokane County has seen 21 days where single-day totals climbed above 100. That means the county saw double the amount of days where case reports exceeded 100 in one-fifth of the time.
As of Tuesday, Nov. 10, Spokane County has also crossed the 100 mark for single-day cases 11 times in the past two weeks.
From March 14 to May 14, there were 394 total cases, averaging out to just over six cases a day, according to the Spokane Regional Health District’s data dashboard. Out of those 62 days, only twice did daily case counts amount to more than 20. The following months show a significant increase in cases, specifically from early July to early August and late September into early November.
According to the Spokane Regional District’s COVID-19 data dashboard, from July 5 to Aug. 5, there were 2,552 cases with an average of just over 82 cases a day.
The dashboard shows that most of the cases were in people between the ages of 30 and 60, making up nearly 43 percent, or 1,086, of all 2,552 cases.
In those 31 days, the dashboard shows 130 people were hospitalized. The highest number of hospitalizations was on July 30 with 10.
During the same time period, there were 45 deaths. The dashboard shows at least one death everyday from July 24 to Aug. 5.
Cases spike again in September
Cases started to level off over the following month, according to the dashboard. By Sept. 23, cases started to spike again.
From Sept. 23 to Nov. 9, the dashboard shows there were 4,936 cases with an average of 105 cases per day. Out of those 47 days, 19 of those saw daily case numbers over 100 and two days over 200.
During this time period, most of the cases were among people between the ages of 20 and 60, making up nearly 64 percent, or 3,155 cases, of the 4,936 cases.
According to the dashboard, 159 people have been hospitalized. The highest number of daily hospitalizations was reported on Nov. 6 with 12 total.
Hospitals are 'concerning' in Spokane County
Hawkins said hospitalization numbers are "concerning" right now in Spokane County.
"Hospitalizations remain concerning, as we are seeing an increase in hospitalizations right alongside increased cases. The Risk Assessment Dashboard shows Spokane County continues to operate at an acceptable capacity, but like other workplace settings, we are seeing increased cases among workers who became infected outside of work," Hawkins said.
"In addition, because they work in a higher-risk sector their exclusion criteria are stricter and longer, which is putting a strain on the system. Hospital systems are strained all over our area, and when nearby hospitals are at capacity, it impacts Spokane hospitals. Influenza season is coming and may further strain our healthcare system," Hawkins added.
Over the last 47 days, the dashboard shows 56 deaths. There was at least one death every day for a week twice during that time period.
The group of people ages 20-39 continues to drive positive cases in Spokane County, Hawkins said. Health officials have also seen an increase in cases among people ages 10-19 over the past two weeks, she added.