Health officials plead with Panhandle Health Board to mandate masks in North Idaho

KOOTENAI CO., Idaho — Anti-mask voters came to the Panhandle Health Board meeting on Friday to make their opinion clear. 

Health officials want to make masks mandatory in Kootenai County. Not everyone agrees. 

Dr. Richard McLandress wants masks mandatory in public places throughout Kootenai County. 

“Face coverings were effective,” said McLandress. 

So does Kootenai Health. 

Cases have skyrocketed since late June. Eleven people are being hospitalized. The Health Board could have passed new mask rules today. 

However, no board members supported Dr. McLandress’ plea for public safety. 

“The threat to our general population is minimal,” said Board Member Glen Bailey. 

Bailey said he thinks he had COVID-19 last winter, saying, “I experienced many of the symptoms and I came through just fine.” 

“This has become not just a health issue but a political issue and I don’t think that we need to be involved as a health board generating more of a political issue,” he said about the virus.

READ: Hacked meeting, outside protest; Health board declines action on mandatory masks in North Idaho