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Coronavirus coverage for Spokane County, April 10-12

Find developments on the coronavirus outbreak Spokane County and Washington state as we separate facts from fear.

Key Facts: 

  • 446 coronavirus deaths among 10,411 cases in Washington 
  • That's 25 more deaths and 511 more positive cases since Wednesday.
  • At least 88,044 people in Washington have been tested for coronavirus as of April 3, and 8.7% of the cases tested positive.
  • 14 coronavirus deaths among 251 cases in Spokane County 

Read previous daily coronavirus updates from April 9 here

Sunday, April 12

2:15 p.m.

Spokane Regional Health District is reporting a total of 274 confirmed coronavirus cases along with 14 coronavirus related deaths.

52 people have been hospitalized due to the virus and 21 currently remain in the hospital and are receiving care. 

Friday, April 10

7:00 p.m.

Vitalant confirmed that an emoployee at its Spokane Valley location has tested positive for coronavirus.

The employee has been in contact with medical professionals, according to Vitalant.

5:55 p.m.

Gov. Inslee issued several proclamation on Friday night, ranging from rules surrounding nursing home transfers and terms of annual leave for state employees.

According to a release from Inslee's office, one proclamation allows nursing homes to transfer or discharge a resident to another long-term care facility, even if the resident has appealed the transfer or discharge.

Another proclamation allows courts to remove certain statutory deadlines surrounding hearings and service of process requirements, according to Inslee's office. This includes service of process requirements dealing with domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and other crimes.

The third proclamation removes restrictions regarding paying employees by mail, and allows for shared leave for employees who haven't been exposed to coronavirus but cannot telework or go into an office due to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, according to Inslee's office.

3:00 p.m.

Governor Jay Inslee, joined by many local mayors and leaders, such as Dishman Hills Conservancy Executive Director Jeff Lambert, spoke to the media today about social distancing efforts during the upcoming Easter weekend.

As temperatures have rose and skies have been clear, many people have been spending time outdoors amid the state's stay home, stay healthy order. While this is allowed, Inslee reiterated the importance of social distancing.

Lambert said the Dishman Hills Conservancy would remain open, but said people need to be vigilant about social distancing. He also asked people to avoid the parks and trails if they are busy.

"If trailheads are busy, we must avoid congestion. If parking lots are full, look elsewhere," Lambert said.

Lambert also asked people to only come to Dishman if they live close enough to walk, run or bike there, adding, "A venture outside your neighborhood can wait."

Inslee said that social distancing has been working, but needs to continue to be followed to flatten the curve enough to reopen parts of the state. He also said they are working to acquire more PPE, as well as getting companies to make different supplies that health care workers are in need of. One such company is located in Spokane and makes part of the coronavirus test kits, according to Inslee.

Inslee and other officials present asked people to avoid tourist areas, such as Ocean Shores and the San Juan Islands.

The governor also said if businesses or people repeatedly break the order, they can be charged with a misdemeanor.

1:55 p.m.

The City of Spokane and Spokane County, along with the Spokane Public Library, announced the launch of a joint regional financial helpline on Friday afternoon.

According to a press release, library staff will take calls and work with caller to help them find local, regional, state and federal resources for financial assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Any business or person in Spokane County can use the hotline, which will help educate people on what programs are available to them.

10 a.m.

Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz announced four additional cases of coronavirus in Spokane County, bringing the total to 251.

Forty-seven people have been hospitalized during the outbreak and 20 of them remain in the hospital. 

Donation site at Spokane Fairgrounds closed on weekends

The donation site at the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds will be closed on Saturday and Sunday.

The site accepts new sewn face masks, personal protective equipment, paper towels, toilet paper and household disinfectants. It remains open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday through Friday. 

COVID-19 cases in the US

The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in the United States is 465,750 as of midnight ET Friday morning. There have been 16,684 deaths in the U.S. and 25,960 recoveries.

The state of New York alone has 161,807 confirmed cases. That more than Spain, the country with the second-most cases in the world behind the U.S.

Worldwide, there are 1.6 million confirmed cases with 95,718 deaths and nearly 355,000 recoveries.

White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC's TODAY show Thursday that he now believes the U.S. death toll will be around 60,000, not the 100,000 - 240,000 predicted a few weeks ago. He cites social distancing and changes to people's behavior.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, and the vast majority survive. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause pneumonia or death.

Malaria drug maker donating 100 million doses

Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi says it is donating 100 million doses of a malaria drug being tested for use as a treatment against the new coronavirus.

In a statement Friday, the company said the hydroxychloroquine doses will be given to 50 countries. The company said it also is ramping up production, aiming to quadruple is capacity to manufacture the drug.

Sanofi said it “will continue to donate the medicine to governments and hospital institutions if ongoing clinical studies demonstrate its efficacy and safety in COVID-19 patients.”

But the company also cautioned that hydroxychloroquine has “several serious known side effects” and tests are so far inconclusive over its safety and efficacy in treating COVID-19.

President Donald Trump has been among the drug’s proponents, tweeting that hydroxychloroquine plus an antibiotic could be “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine” and should “be put in use immediately.”

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