Panhandle Health District identifies community spread of COVID-19 in N. Idaho

Hannah Tellier
Team Rubicon volunteer, EMT Hannah Tellier, from Boston, holds a COVID-19 test in the emergency room of the Kayenta Health Center on the Navajo reservation in Kayenta, Ariz., on April 23, 2020. The Navajo reservation has some of the highest rates of coronavirus in the country. Team Rubicon is helping with medical operations as cases of COVID-19 surge. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

KOOTENAI CO., Idaho — The Panhandle Health District has identified community spread of COVID-19 in Benewah, Bonner, and Kootenai counties.

Community spread means at least one person has been infected with the virus and through contact tracing, health experts were unable to determine how are where they became infected. In these cases, those infected did not have identified contact with another COVID-positive person.

In the past week, the PHD has seen an increase of 18 cases. Kootenai County has 78 cases, Benewah County has seven and Bonner County has five. The health district is still researching seven of the cases to determine what county those people primarily reside in.

Of the total cases, the PHD is no longer monitoring 69, so there is a total of 28 active cases.

Meantime, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe has announced there are 22 cases associated with the reservation.

“We realize this does not match our case count for Benewah county. We count cases by an individual’s primary county of residence, so the cases the Tribe has announced aren’t necessarily all primary residents of Benewah county,” the PHD said in a release.

The state of Idaho recently announced widespread efforts to increase testing and is currently in phase 3 of its reopening plan.

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