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Spokane Regional Health District: New restrictions are 'critical' to limiting COVID-19 spread

There have been nearly 2,400 new cases in the last four weeks and hospital capacity is hovering between 60 and 65%, SRHD said.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Regional Health District is calling new COVID-19 restrictions outlined by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Sunday "critical" to slowing the spread of the virus in Spokane County. 

Indoor dining at restaurants and bars is closed, and in-store retail is limited to 25% capacity, including grocery stores. Indoor gatherings with those outside your household are also prohibited and outdoor gatherings are limited to five people, according to the new guidelines.

There have been nearly 2,400 positive cases of COVID-19 reported in the past two weeks, and hospital capacity is hovering around 60 to 65%, according to health district data. 

"The measures are critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19, reducing risk in communities more vulnerable to serious illness and death, and helping conserve hospital capacity so that Spokane County residents can continue to have access to quality care," SRHD said in a release.

“The roll-back of guidance is what we can do to curtail the exponential growth of COVID-19-positive cases and save lives,” said Dr. Francisco Velazquez, interim health officer with SRHD. “With colder temperatures and the holiday season ahead, the risk of spread is that much greater.”  

The new restrictions focus on areas of "most concern," the health district said, focusing on gyms restaurants, bars, churches and other indoor activities.  

The new guidance doesn't impact plans to bring more students in Spokane County back to class in person, but the health district now recommends pausing the transition for older grade levels until the virus spread is more under control. 

SRHD said they're available to support those who may need help in following the guidance. 

"The team here at the health district is working tirelessly to provide the guidance you need to operate your business, to live safely and to protect those you care about," Velazquez said. 

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