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COVID-19 creates traffic jam

Staff Writer | December 8, 2020 1:09 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — The Kootenai County Vehicle Licensing Division announced yet another positive COVID-19 case Monday, effectively closing the Coeur d'Alene Office for the foreseeable future.

According to a Monday news release, the infected employee last worked on Friday and was confirmed positive over the weekend.

The Kootenai County Assessor's Office advises customers who visited the CDA office between Nov. 30 and Dec. 4 to consult their health care providers as they could have been exposed.

"Regrettably, the CDA VLD has now temporarily closed its doors effective at 12:30 p.m.," the release reads. "We apologize for the inconvenience, but in light of the resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the area, it was deemed prudent to close."

This comes just two days after the Assessor's Office announced its plans to reopen the Post Falls VLD Office, which closed on Nov. 20 due to another COVID-19 case. Since then, Coeur d'Alene staff have struggled to process both sets of appointments, forcing long customer lines outside the downtown building.

The CDA closure further reduces options for those needing to renew their licenses, as neighboring counties have stopped processing Kootenai residents' licensing requests.

"This backlog is a result of a combination of the COVID-19 restrictions and closures, the significant influx of new residents to the area, a significant rise in the volume of new vehicle titles and the timing of ITD's new system ("GEM") rollout," a Dec. 4 news release said. "These surges in the volume of transactions and the temporary setback attributed to the learning curve of a new system rollout have dramatically affected the ability of the office to sustain the needed level of service."

Last week the Assessor's Office said it reached out to the Idaho Transportation Department Motor Vehicle Division for additional support and resources. Nothing has been finalized.

While the Assessor's Office had hoped to resume accepting walk-in appointments at both locations Monday morning, those services will no longer be available.

Customers with upcoming QLESS app arrangements at the CDA VLD Office should receive an email with information. It is expected that the Post Falls Office will attempt to merge its customers with pre-scheduled CDA VLD patrons.

The Assessor's Office is encouraging customers to process their vehicle licensing and registrations online or by mail.