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Spokane Regional Health District shares recommendations for large gatherings, school events amid COVID surge

SRHD recommends schools take certain steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, which includes canceling events and requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) shared its recommendations for large, in-person school events and gatherings as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Spokane County.

According to the SRHD website, the decision to hold in-person events at schools remains up to each district's administration. However, SRHD works closely with school administrations to provide guidance and support.

Spokane County is experiencing an "extremely high" rate of COVID-19 transmission, due largely in part to the Omicron variant, which health officials say is now the dominant strain in Washington.

Large outbreaks of the virus could also place additional strain on Spokane County's hospitals and healthcare facilities.

SRHD reported 907 new COVID-19 cases and 115 hospitalizations across Spokane County on Tuesday.

Because the Omicron variant is highly contagious, SRHD said large events and gatherings put multiple people at risk of becoming infected. Large school events could result in a surge of cases within schools and districts. 

SRHD is asking schools to consider the following recommendations "to help mitigate the current surge of COVID-19 cases in our community":

  • Cancel or postpone large school events until case rates become stable, preferably in mid to late February
  • Require attendees to show proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours
  • Close food concessions to keep further close contact at a minimum

SRHD said they will continue to monitor case rates within schools, test positivity rates and other factors when considering guidance for school events.

"We are thankful for the excellent communication and collaboration with the school districts as we work together to keep our community healthy," SRHD said in a statement.