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PHD: Coronavirus deaths top 500

Staff Writer | October 8, 2021 1:00 AM

Deaths attributed to the coronavirus in the Panhandle Health District topped 500 as of Thursday.

The PHD reported deaths now totaling 501. Most, 399 or 80%, were people age 70 and older, as the virus continues to take a greater toll on older people and those with compromised immune systems. Five COVID-19 deaths in the PHD have been people under the age of 40, none under the age of 18, according to the PHD website.

Statewide, there have been 3,064 deaths attributed to the virus, also none under the age of 18.

Kootenai Health reported it had 143 COVID-19 inpatients, down from 150 the day before, with 43 requiring critical care. It had one pediatric patient, down from five on Monday.

A hospital spokeswoman wrote Thursday that the “overwhelming majority” of COVID patients are unvaccinated. She said, in response to a question from the Press, to the best of her knowledge the hospital has not “had any hospital admissions for adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines.”

Meanwhile, the PHD’s coronavirus positivity rate reached 22.9% based on 5,069 PCR tests for the week ending Oct. 2, its highest point in nine months.

It has been higher than that only once, when it hit 23% on Jan. 2.

Kootenai County’s positivity rate climbed to 22.7% based on 3,560 tests, while the state’s declined for the third straight week to 14.6%.

Many health and government leaders continue to call on people to get vaccinated and say the vaccine has minimal side effects.

In Kootenai County, 61,711 people are fully vaccinated, 43% of the eligible population. The PHD has 90,088 residents fully vaccinated, 42%. That’s lower than the national rate of 55%, as about 182.6 million Americans are fully vaccinated.

Kids could be next.

Pfizer asked the U.S. government to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for youngsters ages 5 to 11, about 28 million, the Associated Press reported.

If regulators give the go-ahead, reduced-dose kids’ shots could begin within a matter of weeks.

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