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'This is a job half-finished': Dr. Bob Lutz discusses new position on state COVID response team

In terms of his new role, Dr. Bob Lutz said he’ll be focused squarely on the state’s response to the pandemic.

SPOKANE, Wash — A day after the Washington State Department of Health announced the hiring of Dr. Bob Lutz to work on It’s COVID response team, Lutz is speaking out about his new position

While he declined to discuss his firing from as the Spokane Regional Health Officer, he wanted to thank the community for all of their support this past month.

In terms of his new role, he said he’ll be focused squarely on the state’s response to the pandemic.

He said he’ll be working remotely and that he and his wife are staying in Spokane.

KREM's Mark Hanrahan spoke to the former health officer about why he decided to stay in the fight against COVID-19.

Dr. Bob Lutz: So for me, this is a job half-finished, this is book half-read and so I really want to be involved. This is my community and I really want to ensure as much as I can as one person the safety and well- being of every community member. To be able to do that at the state level and really have impact across the entire state, that’s why I do it.

Mark Hanrahan: What has the last month been like for you?

Lutz: Yeah Mark, definitely its’ interesting would probably be the best adjective to use. It’s just you know, a lot of ups and downs there have been some high’s and some lows. You know as I mentioned the amount of support Amy and I have received has just really helped us immeasurably in the last few weeks. 

Hanrahan: What do you think about the situation with COVID-19 in Washington and in particular in eastern Washington?

Lutz: It's disturbing. It's concerning, you know certainly in Spokane if you look at the curve you’ve never really seen a decrease of significance. Gosh we had a little of a downturn in the summer, but for the most part we’ve just been on this gradual rise and then after September it just sort of exponentially blew up and we continue to see a significant increase in Spokane, but also Eastern Washington.

Hanrahan: Do you feel like Spokane Regional Health is handling the situation good or poorly, or could they do better? What are you thoughts on that?

Lutz: I think you know, I think irrespective of me not being there, Mark, the professionals at SRHD always will be doing their best work to ensure the safety and the health of the entire community so irrespective of my absence they’re doing everything they can. But it’s not just the agency. Its not just the public health professionals, its everyone collectively that need to be working, because you know, because what they’re doing is providing the guidance, providing the epidemiological investigations and recommendations, but it really comes down to what people are doing.


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