The Whitman County Public Health director told the Whitman County Commissioners on Monday that COVID-19 cases continue to trend upward.

“We’re still on the front end of this wave and it does not look like it’s showing any signs of slowing down at the time being,” Chris Skidmore said.

Statewide, this wave of virus cases has led to a record high hospitalization rate for COVID-19 patients.

Skidmore said local hospitals have a “fair amount” of COVID-19 patients and their ability to transfer patients to regional hospitals is limited.

Skidmore said he received two calls last week from Spokane-area hospitals asking the county to take back long-term care patients that are COVID-19 positive. Local long-term care facilities do not have sufficient space to isolate these individuals, Skidmore said, so they have to fully recover in a hospital first. He said this is a problem throughout Washington.

Thirty new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed since Friday on the Palouse.

Nineteen of those cases were among Latah County residents. Those patients include four people younger than 5, five people between ages 18-29, two people in their 30s, two in their 40s, two in their 50s, one in their 60s, one in their 70s, one in their 80s and one in their 90s.

The total number of deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic remains at 16. The total number of confirmed and probable cases since the beginning of the pandemic rose to 3,504.

Whitman County reported 11 new cases since Friday with one new hospitalization and no new deaths.

There have been 4,677 total cases, 54 deaths and 141 hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.

Whitman County’s COVID-19 activity is moderate based on data from the past two weeks, according to the Whitman County Public Health website.

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