Northwest News

Citing delta variant, Washington state urges indoor masks

Washington state’s top epidemiologist is recommending that everyone wear a mask or face covering in crowded indoor places because of the rise of the COVID-19 delta variant -- even if they have been vaccinated. Dr. Scott Lindquist said Friday the state is seeing a “fifth wave” of the new coronavirus that is sending more people to the hospital. The state saw 2,572 new cases reported for Wednesday, July 21, compared with 750 seven days earlier. The state Department of Health reports that about 350 people statewide are hospitalized with COVID-19, which is roughly half the figure for earlier waves of the pandemic.

Families plan to escape smoke as more is expected to hover over Eastern Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. — If you are going to be outside this weekend, you may want to have a backup plan. Smoke across Eastern Washington is expected to get worse as early as Friday. One Washington town — that is usually flooded with tourists right now — had the worst air quality in the country on Thursday. Winthrop reached hazardous levels….

EPA orders $65,250 penalty for pesticide company

The Environmental Protection Administration has ordered the J.R. Simplot Co. to pay a $65,250 penalty for pesticide safety violations south of the Columbia River. The penalty covers problems cited by EPA at its Umatilla, Oregon, and Moreland, Idaho, facilities where large amounts of pesticide are stored and sold. Simplot did not respond to a request for comment. EPA says the Oregon warehouse had a 12-inch hole in the floor that could allow spilled pesticide to contaminate the ground under the warehouse. The Idaho facility had pesticide spills that had solidified on the ground, creating a possible exposure for workers.