COVID: Fears grow over Inland Northwest hospital capacity

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Health officials in rural communities in Washington state are worried that Thanksgiving gatherings could take the COVID-19 pandemic from bad to worse and, in some places, overwhelm already strained health systems. The Spokesman-Review reports the small towns surrounding Spokane County have experienced a surge in cases in recent weeks, mirroring trends seen statewide. In the past two weeks, the Northeast Tri County Health District, which covers Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, reported more than 300 new COVID-19 cases, a record number. The Washington Department of Health announced this week that it’s hiring 350 more contact tracers and investigators to support local health jurisdictions by mid-December.