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PHD: Virus positivity rate 24%

| December 15, 2020 1:00 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — The positivity rate of the coronavirus in the Panhandle Health District for the week ending Dec. 5 was 24%, second-highest in the state, and above the state’s positivity rate of 20%. Only PHD 7, at 24.4%, was higher.

In a recent White House Coronavirus Task Force Report, Idaho had the highest positivity rate in the country.

Meanwhile, Kootenai Health reported it had a record 87 coronavirus patients on Monday, and 20 were in critical care.

“We are seeing more COVID-19 patients in our area hospitals than we ever have before throughout this pandemic,” wrote Katherine Hoyer, PHD spokeswoman, in an email to The Press.

The arrival of a vaccine is good, “but we are not out of the woods yet,” Hoyer wrote. “It’s going to take months to distribute the vaccine to everyone who wants it, so we need to continue to practice the precautions.”

PHD reported 451 new cases Monday, which included the weekend, bringing total cases to 13,069. Deaths attributed to the virus rose to 145, with 130 of those people age 70 or older.

Kootenai County had 352 new cases Monday, among the highest in the state, and now has 102 COVID-19 deaths.

Health officials remind residents that per the PHD and the city of Coeur d’Alene mandates, masks are required when in public and unable to maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet.