Spokane County confirmed 19 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the local total to 469 cases, 50 of which have been identified since Thursday.
At least seven of the additional cases are related to the outbreak at the Philadelphia Macaroni Co. plant, where a total of 31 employees have been infected and operations have been halted.
As of Friday, 24 workers out of 72 had tested positive.
A number of Spokane’s other 12 new cases are likely related to the pasta factory outbreak, but that has not been confirmed, according to Kelli Hawkins, a Spokane Regional Health District spokesperson.
“Contact tracing is now moving out to the families,” Hawkins said. “I would suspect that more are from contact tracing related to this.”
The pasta factory and the Spokane Veterans Home, where 46 residents and 24 staff have been infected with the novel coronavirus, remain Spokane’s only confirmed outbreaks. Ten residents who tested positive at the nursing home have died, either from the virus or due to co-occuring medical conditions, including one resident who died after retesting negative.
“What we’re seeing in a congregated setting is you’re still at risk for contracting COVID-19” even as the number of cases from community spread decreases, Hawkins said.
Hawkins said the Philadelphia Macaroni Co. plant had diligent infection-control measures in place, “and yet still an outbreak occurred.”
“We have to remain diligent with the measures of physical distancing,” Hawkins added. “It’s all the more important that we wear masks to protect others and wash our hands and clean surfaces to protect ourselves.”
In Idaho, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe confirmed its first case on the reservation on Friday, which was also the first case in Benewah County.
“The patient is a child with mild symptoms who is isolating at home with family in Benewah County,” the tribe announced.
Kootenai County confirmed two additional cases on Friday after going nearly a week without any new positive tests, bringing the local total to 66 cases. Bonner County has also confirmed four cases total.
Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman said Grant County and six other counties could move on to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan on Saturday.
Grant County confirmed the first case in early March. Three more people have died since, but 106 out of 198 cases had recovered as of Friday.
Nearly three-quarters of Spokane County’s 469 cases have recovered, according to the health district.
Sixty-eight of the Idaho Panhandle’s 71 cases are no longer being monitored by the local health district.