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PHD reports 43 new coronavirus cases

| July 15, 2020 1:50 PM

Scam Alert: False Positives for COVID-19

BILL BULEY

Staff Writer

COEUR d’ALENE — The Panhandle Health District reported there were 43 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday. That brings PHD’s total cases to 957 with 363 no longer being monitored.

Eight people, down one from Tuesday, are hospitalized due to the virus, and there has been a total of 31 people hospitalized.

Kootenai County’s coronavirus count rose to 812, an increase of 34.

Meanwhile, health officials issued a covornavirus scam warning.

“Recently there have been a number of similar stories shared on social media indicating someone planned to get tested for COVID-19, never completed the test because the wait was too long, then received a letter indicating they were positive for COVID-19. Similar stories are being shared on social media around the nation,” according to a press release from Kootenai Health. “These stories say this is why COVID-19 numbers are rising, but these claims are false.”

Kootenai Health offered a few facts to refute the false information being circulated.

• COVID-19 test results are not sent in the mail by Kootenai Health. Positive results are communicated to the doctor who ordered the test by phone. The doctor will then call the patient to relay this result. Panhandle Health District may send a certified letter with test results if a person cannot be reached by phone after multiple attempts. This is very rare.

• Fact: Someone who did not have a test performed for COVID-19 would not receive results.

• Fact: The test for COVID-19 virus (not to be confused with antibody testing) is quite accurate. It is much more likely to have a false negative (testing too early or insufficient sample) than a false positive.

• Fact: Medical providers or testing facilities do not “receive more money” for positive test results.

“Please help be part of the solution. We are all in this together,” the release said.

Benewah County remained at 22 cases on Wednesday, Bonner County rose seven to 87, Boundary County rose one to eight cases, and Shoshone County rose two to 14, PHD said. There are 14 undetermined cases.

PHD reported the age group of 18-29 has by far the most COVID-19 cases, 34 percent, at 325. The 30-39 age group has 166 cases, 17 percent, which means those two age groups are accounting for more than half of the total cases.

Females are being affected more, with 521 cases accounting for 54 percent, while 434 cases are among males.

There has been one death in Kootenai County attributed to the coronavirus.

Health officials continue to encourage people to practice social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks when in public places by others.

As of Tuesday, PHD is only writing orders for COVID-19 testing for individuals who are uninsured and do not have a primary care provider.

PHD is asking individuals to use their primary care provider for their COVID-19 test ordering needs.

“Due to the increased number of COVID-19 positive cases in our community, PHD will be focusing our resources on the public health function of contact tracing in order to slow the spread of the virus,” a press release said.