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First coronavirus death in Benewah County

| August 12, 2020 1:00 AM

PHD: 21 deaths, 2,275 total cases

Panhandle Health District and Benewah Community Hospital on Tuesday reported the first death related to COVID-19 in Benewah County.

The individual was in his 60s and had been hospitalized due to complications with COVID-19.

“BCH is saddened to hear that one of our community members has passed away from COVID-19,” said Chuck Lloyd, CEO Benewah Community Hospital. “BCH had the honor of caring for this community member for a short period of time before they were transferred to a higher level of care. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time. BCH is committed to ensuring that our community, staff, and health care providers remain safe and healthy.”

PHD reported two other deaths on Tuesday, which means 21 people in the district, 20 of them over 70, have died of COVID-19.

There are 2,275 total cases, with 81 new ones. Of those, 29 are hospitalized and five are in critical care at Kootenai Health.

Kootenai County has 1,849 cases, Bonner has 183, Shoshone has 121, Benewah 63 and Boundary 37. There are 837 COVID-19 active cases and 1,438 closed cases in the PHD.

Health officials urge residents to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes, practicing physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings in public places, practicing good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, sanitizing high-touch surfaces regularly and isolating immediately if you show symptoms of COVID-19.

The Central Health District Board of Health on Tuesday voted 4-2 to mandate that masks be worn in Valley County to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The PHD board approved a mask mandate when in public places and unable to be 6 feet from others for Kootenai County a few weeks ago, though it is ignored by some and no citations have been issued.

A recent White House report listed Idaho as being in the “red zone,” indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population, and for test positivity, indicating a rate above 10%.

The report called for wearing a mask “at all times outside the home.”

It also recommended limiting social gatherings to 10 people or fewer; not going to bars or gyms, and reducing public activities.