Tri-county area sees 38 new cases of COVID-19 in past two weeks

(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)

The Northeast Tri-County Health district is reporting 38 cases of COVID-19 in the area in the last two weeks, and over 100 people are also being monitored and self-isolating for possible exposure to the virus.

These numbers and other metrics were presented during the Friday media press conference held over Zoom with NE Washington media members.

The health district said that the community spread is coming from gatherings at home, social gatherings and work settings. They are also dealing with a backlog of tests, with some dating back to July 1. NE Tri-County Health’s Matt Schanz said that this is also a national problem with commercial labs doing the testing.

The Tri-County area like many other areas in the country began to see an increase of COVID-19 cases in June and July after relatively few instances during the spring “Stay at Home” order.

The state of Washington is seeing the most cases popping up in those ages 0-39.

Yesterday’s press conference Governor Jay Inslee did not rule out another “Stay at Home” order if transmission of the virus continued to grow. In the same press conference he lowered the allowable size of social gatherings from 50 to 10 in Phase 3 counties. The Tri-County health district said that local law enforcement, or the Governor’s Attorney General would be working on that, while anything business-related would be referred to L&I.

Eastern Washington currently is seeing a reproduction rate of 1.28 which means an infected person infects 1.28 other people. The state wants to see this less than 1. The health district pointed out that Yakima is seeing a drop in virus metrics after more stringent restrictions intervened and that the use of masks is effective.