Ahead of the Independence Day weekend, Up With KREM's Joshua Robinson spoke with Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward about the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, new mask mandates, and her goals for the holiday weekend and beyond to get the county on track toward Phase 3.
Joshua: As Spokane County hits new records in weekly coronavirus cases, what is your biggest concern when it comes to getting these numbers under control?
Mayor Woodward: "It's that much more important that we adhere to the Governor's mask mandate when we're out and about in larger numbers, especially during these holiday weekends. It's that much more important that we wear our masks whenever possible, especially when we're going inside our businesses-- who are also trying to adhere to the state guidelines that the state has put out for them to be able to operate. We need to not make it harder for them to open and be able to operate. As a customer, make sure you wear your masks inside. I think it makes it better for everybody, and it's going to get us to Phase 3 quicker, so we can continue opening up even more businesses."
Joshua: How can we attribute the latest surge in cases county-wide? Is it a new community spread? Or is it more contact tracing?
Mayor Woodward: "The cases that we're going after are typically individuals who have been exposed, and that we expect to test positive. So that's why we're seeing such a high percentage of positive cases. That is, though, until we get broader testing, when we could get a better idea of what COVID is like locally."
Joshua: There has been a vocal push-back against Governor Inslee's mask mandates over the past few weeks. What is your response to people who are so openly opposed to wearing masks?
Mayor Woodward: "As we continue along this road of living with COVID amongst us, and figuring out how to stay healthy as a community so that we can open up businesses, I think people are going to be more willing to wear a mask, those that initially had that very strong and vocal push-back. I'm seeing a change."