By Lyndsie Kiebert
The Panhandle Health District confirmed community spread of the novel coronavirus in Bonner County on June 4, and had detected seven cases of COVID-19 in Bonner County as of June 10.
Of the five northern counties that PHD monitors, community spread has been detected in Kootenai, Benewah and Bonner counties.
“Community spread means at least one person has been infected with the virus and through contact tracing we are unable to determine how or where they became infected,” PHD said in a press release June 4. “The individual(s) did not travel and had no identified contact with another person with COVID-19. PHD urges all residents to assume the virus could be anywhere in the community and surrounding counties.”
PHD also has nine cases categorized as “undetermined” on its website, meaning that a primary county of residence is not yet determined for those nine people. Uncertainty about where a person lives can occur because individuals are difficult to reach; they decline to participate in contact tracing, which is voluntary; they may be experiencing homelessness; or their residence information may be incorrect or outdated.
As of June 10, PHD reported 115 cases of COVID-19 in North Idaho — of those cases, 21 are still being monitored while 94 are not.
“We continue to ask the public to practice physical distancing, wearing masks while out in public especially when physical distancing is difficult, wash your hands often, stay home if you are sick and sanitize high-touch surfaces regularly,” PHD officials stated in a Facebook post June 10.
Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms — cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell — should call the PHD coronavirus hotline at 1-877-415-5225 to be assessed for a test.
Idaho reported 40 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 on June 10, bringing the statewide total to 3,260 cases and 85 virus-caused deaths. The state surpassed 3,000 cases on June 4, and has logged anywhere between 18 and 58 new cases daily in the week since.
Gov. Brad Little will hold a press conference Thursday, June 11 at 10 a.m. Mountain Standard Time to announce whether Idaho will move into Stage 4 of the Idaho Rebounds economic reopening plan as scheduled on Saturday, June 13.
Stage 4, which is the final stage in the plan, marks the reopening of large venues and the green light for gatherings of more than 50 people with “appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures,” according to the Idaho Rebounds guidelines.
Watch the governor’s June 11 press conference on Idaho Public Television or at idahoptv.org.
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