By Ben Olson
The coronavirus pandemic hit home on March 29 when Panhandle Health District announced the first positive case in Bonner County. The patient is a male in his 60s who is self-isolating at home. Though at first the case was first reported to be acquired through community transmission, later investigation revealed that wasn’t the case.
“The Bonner County case had direct contact with a confirmed case outside of our area,” said Panhandle Health District public information officer Katherine Hoyer. “It was not community transmission.”
Hoyer confirmed that community transmission was evident in neighboring Kootenai County.
“Community transmission is happening in Kootenai County, but we have not identified that in other counties [in the Panhandle Health District] yet,” Hoyer said.
As of Wednesday, April 1 at 7 p.m., Idaho has reported 669 cases of coronavirus across 29 counties, with 9 deaths attributed to the virus statewide. Over 7,200 people have been tested for the COVID-19 virus, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Over 215,000 cases have been reported nationwide.
BGH public information officer Erin Binnall said the hospital has sent out over 100 tests.
“Our Emergency Department is scheduling curbside testing for people with a provider’s order,” Binnall wrote. “If one has COVID concerns and feels they need to be tested, please call ED ahead of time at 208-265-1020. As always our Emergency Department is available for ALL emergent needs.”
Binnall said BGH is continuing to accept donations from the community for the following items: Nitrile exam gloves, surgical masks, mask covers, bouffant caps, isolation gowns, N95 masks, hand sanitizer, plastic/vinyl gloves for dietary staff use and any hand-sewn mask covers in all sizes.
“We want to thank all of our community members and business owners who have donated supplies, food, coffee and are working on sewing masks, gowns and scrub hats,” Binnall said.
Hoyer stressed how important is is for everyone to follow CDC guidelines to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
“We strongly urge the public to practice what the Governor’s stay-home order is asking,” Hoyer said. “Stay home as much as you can, do not go to work if you are sick, keep distance between yourself and others (6 feet) and wash hands and sanitize routinely.”
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