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Coronavirus coverage for Spokane County, April 6

Find developments on the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state and Spokane County and we work together to separate facts from fear.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Key Facts: 

Read previous daily coronavirus updates from April 3 - April 5 here

Monday, April 6

6:40 p.m:

Spokane Pride 2020 has been postponed until October 17, 2020.

6:17 p.m:

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced that it has received clarification from Gov. Inslee that all in-person extracurricular athletics and activities had been canceled through the end of the school year.

5:22 p.m. 

Leaders with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association say they have not yet made a decision on education-based athletics and activities. 

A statement sent on Monday evening reads: 

"Because education-based athletics and activities were not addressed in Monday’s announcement, the WIAA has reached out to the Office of the Governor and OSPI seeking clarification on how the order impacts regular-season competition and any postseason events. It is understandable that the focus of this measure has been on classroom learning; however, the WIAA is awaiting more information on how events would be impacted if a stay-at-home order were lifted on May 4.

It is the goal of the WIAA to provide students every avenue to compete in a safe environment. Just as teachers and school administrators have been asked to be creative in finding ways to adapt to this challenge, the WIAA staff and Executive Board are working to exhaust every opportunity before making a final decision."

4:55 p.m.

Multicare spokesperson Kevin Maloney confirmed to KREM on Monday that a second employee has tested positive for coronavirus.

Another employee had previously tested positive on March 19.

"Staff have been asked to self-quarantine if they are symptomatic in an effort to keep our patients and other employees safe," Maloney said in an email to KREM. "Now that COVID-19 has come into our community, we expect the number of COVID-19 positive cases to go up, which include health care workers."

2:30 p.m.

Washington in-person classes will be canceled through the end of the school year, Gov. Jay Inslee announced on Monday.

"We simply cannot take the chance of reopening on-site instructing in this calendar school year," Inslee said.

But schools will continue distance learning through the end of the school year, he added.

Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal joined Inslee to give an update on the school closures.

Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Shelley Redinger wrote a letter to students and staff: 

"This is a tough day for the residents of Washington state. Today, Governor Inslee announced that school will not resume in person for the rest of the school year, in order to continue fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. We know you have many questions, and we will share information as soon as we can. What we can tell you now is that free meals for all students and childcare for the children of first responders and healthcare workers will continue. Students will continue to receive instruction virtually, yet we want you to know that our supports for families, students, and staff will not stop. We are all in this together. We will continue to provide updates on www.spokaneschools.org and our social media feeds, as well as by email and text. Our next message will be Monday, April 13th, unless another urgent message requires us to reach out sooner. Take care of yourself and your family."

Inslee and Reykdal said, if it was safe to do so, schools may be allowed to hold in-person graduations in June.

This order also keeps in place exemptions for school buildings to be used for meal preparation and child care for first responders, Reykdal said. Some in-person learning may also be offered for students with learning challenges, such as English Second Language students.

Inslee said he understands why students are anxious about the rest of the year being held remotely, but that he hopes they will be able to look back and appreciate their efforts. He also said students are an important part of helping this go smoothly.

Both Reykdal and Inslee emphasized efforts to make sure all students had proper internet connections to take part in distance learning, and Reykdal said he believes this shows the importance of treating internet connectivity as a necessary resource.

Last month, the state had ordered schools statewide to close March 17 to April 24, with the earliest opening date of April 27.

Last week, the governor extended the statewide stay-at-home order that closed businesses except for "essential" business to May 4. Residents were also asked to restrict leaving their homes except for necessary errands. However, schools were not specifically included in that extension.

Reykdal had said last week in a Facebook video that it was possible that students will not return to school for the remainder of the school year in an effort to further reduce the spread of coronavirus, but it would be up to the governor to make that call.

Inslee said that while instruction won't be up to to same level as it usually is, staff is going to be there for students as much as possible.

Reykdal also emphasized the importance of not allowing this to harm student's academic careers.

"No student, due to a global pandemic, should see their GPA erode and lose higher education opportunities," Reykdal said.

2:15 p.m.

Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal will join Gov. Jay Inslee at 2:30 p.m. to give an update on the state's coronavirus response.

Last month, the state had ordered schools statewide to close March 17 to April 24, with the earliest opening date of April 27. However, last week, the governor lengthened the statewide stay-at-home order that closed businesses except for "essential" business to May 4.

Reykdal had said last week in a Facebook video that it was possible that students will not return to school for the remainder of the school year in an effort to further reduce the spread of coronavirus, but it would be up to the governor to make that call.

Watch here at 2:30 p.m. for the live announcement.

10:30 a.m.

Western Washington has made significant strides to flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak. While eastern Washington is lagging behind, health officials say data suggests that there are marked improvements.

“I don’t think we are seeing a flattening of the curve yet [in eastern Washington]. But my hope is that the worst is behind us,” said Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz.

Lutz offered some hopeful news on Monday, adding that he is not seeing 20 or more cases per day in Spokane County. He also reported that health leaders have not seen a significant uptick in hospitalizations in the past several days, a metric they use when looking at the flattening of the curve.

There are 222 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Spokane County among 12 deaths, Lutz said. Thirty-five people have been hospitalized throughout the outbreak and 14 people remain in the hospital as of Monday. 

Read more on coronavirus in eastern Washington here

9 a.m.

All people on Department of Defense property, installations, and facilities are now required to wear cloth face coverings in circumstances where they can't maintain six feet of social distance.

5:30 a.m. 

The Spokane Transit Authority begins reduced service Monday. Express routes that typically carry morning and evening commuters are suspended due to significantly reduced ridership due to the 'stay home' order.

Express routes impacted by implementing Level 3 Service include:

  • Route 124 – North Express
  • Route 144 – South Express
  • Route 172 – Liberty Lake Express
  • Route 173 – Valley Transit Center Express
  • Route 190 – Valley Express

4:45 a.m.

The confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has reached 337,620 as of midnight ET Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. That's more than double the cases of the next-closest country, Spain. There have been 9,643 deaths in the U.S. -- nearly 1/3 of which are in New York City -- and 17,530 people recovered.

Worldwide, there are 1.27 million cases with nearly 70,000 deaths and more than 260,000 recovered.

For most people, coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Washington state: Updates from April 3-5

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