The region’s poor air quality has limited COVID-19 testing on the Washington State University campus and has forced the Washington National Guard to move its testing to a different location.
WSU announced Tuesday the Washington National Guard resumed its COVID-19 testing inside Beasley Coliseum on Tuesday. The National Guard paused testing this past weekend because of smoke in the region.
Testing will be offered noon-6 p.m. today through Friday. Visitors are asked to use the entrance off Orchard Drive.
The wildfire smoke forced Cougar Health Services to suspend testing at its facility. On Tuesday, testing was still unavailable and Cougar Health Services was reassessing its operations.
The Whitman County Health Department warned the recent decrease in positive cases is because of limited testing and people should not assume there is a decrease in viral activity.
Testing is still available at Pullman Regional Hospital and Palouse Medical.
As of Tuesday, Pullman ranked No. 1 in the country on a New York Times list of metro areas with the highest number of COVID-19 cases relative to their populations.
Whitman County Public Health reported 11 new cases Tuesday, pushing the county’s total to 1,065.
New patients include four people under 20 years old and one woman and six men between 20 and 39. All are stable and self isolating, according to a press release.
Across the border, the University of Idaho has tested more than 8,500 people since Aug. 6 and the overall percent of positive cases remains at 1.11 percent, according to a Monday memo from President Scott Green. Twelve people tested positive between Sept. 5-11.
UI officials announced Monday that in-person classes and other on-campus activities would be suspended through today. Instruction is being delivered in online or remote fashion.
Since the beginning of testing, the university has housed a total of 31 students in its on-campus isolation area and currently has only four students residing there, the memo states.
Green also announced Gritman Medical Center nurses will be at the UI Student Recreation Center today to swab anyone who traveled during Labor Day weekend.
Public Health - Idaho North Central District reported 18 new cases in its five-county jurisdiction, including four in Latah County which brings the county’s total to 292.
All four are women in their 20s. People in their 20s make up the largest proportion of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Latah County at 114. According to the district’s website, 150 have recovered.
There have been no deaths related to COVID-19 in either Latah or Whitman counties.
WSU shuts campus for a third day
Washington State University has suspended all on-site activities for its Pullman campus for a third consecutive day in response to poor air quality caused by western wildfire smoke.
In an announcement Tuesday afternoon, the school said in-person activities have been canceled today. Faculty and staff are to refrain from reporting to work on campus unless their department tells them differently. Online activities, including academic classes, will continue with few exceptions.