The surging number of positive COVID-19 tests in Whitman County slowed to a trickle Tuesday with 11 new cases reported, but county Public Health Director Troy Henderson said the decline was largely the result of testing site shutdowns because of poor air quality.

“The recent decrease in positive test results should not be assumed to be a result of an associated decrease in viral activity,” Henderson and county Director of Emergency Management Bill Tensfeld said in a news release.

Some people who might otherwise seek a test are simply staying home to avoid the unhealthy air generated by wildfires across the western United States, Henderson said. But more significantly, outdoor testing sites maintained by Washington State University’s Cougar Health Services and the Army National Guard had to be shut down Friday afternoon.

There are now 1,065 positive COVID-19 diagnoses in Whitman County, according to the news release. The new cases include two females and two males age 19 or younger; and one woman and six men between the ages of 20 and 39. All are stable and self-isolating at home.

Elsewhere in southeastern Washington, Asotin County Public Health Administrator Brady Woodbury reported four new cases, bringing the total there to 74. Garfield County public health officials reported no new cases.

In Idaho, the Public Health – Idaho North Central District reported 18 new cases for a total of 785. Seven were females in Nez Perce County, including two between the ages of 10 and 19; one each in their 30s, 50s and 60s; and two in their 40s. Seven were men in Idaho County, including three in their 20s and two each in their 30s and 40s. Latah County reported positive tests with four women in their 20s.

The Innovia Foundation announced Tuesday that it will match donations made over the next two weeks in support of Pullman Regional Hospital’s COVID-19 testing and triage center.

The matching funds will be provided through the All In WA COVID-19 relief effort and matching gift challenge offered by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, according to a news release. Hospital CEO Scott Adams said the funding couldn’t come at a better time since the community’s infections are rising at an “alarming rate.”

Donations will be matched until Sept. 23. Those who want to contribute may visit www.pullmanregional.org/covid-19-fund.

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