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PHD: COVID deaths reach 800

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | January 7, 2022 1:00 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the Panhandle Health District has reached 800, according to PHD’s website on Thursday.

Of those, 499 were Kootenai County residents. PHD hit 700 deaths attributed to the virus five weeks ago.

The coronavirus positivity rate also shot up in North Idaho, presumably due to omicron, a milder COVID-19 variant that spreads more easily among vaccinated and unvaccinated and is causing cases to rise around the world.

Kootenai County’s positivity rate rose to 15.8% for the week ending Jan. 1 based on 2,045 PCR test. It was 5.4% two weeks ago.

PHD’s positivity rate rose to 14.3% based on 2,780 PCR tests. It was 5.2% two weeks ago.

And the state’s positivity rate climbed to 17.1%, the highest in nearly four months.

The state reported Thursday there were 4,223 COVID-19 related deaths in Idaho. Of those, 86% were people over the age of 60, while 1.8% of COVID-19 related deaths in Idaho were people under the age of 40.

The virus continues to primarily affect those who are older or with weakened immune systems due to medical conditions such as diabetes and obesity or being a smoker.

Kootenai Health reported Thursday it had 56 COVID-19 inpatients, with 17 in critical care, and zero pediatric COVID patients.

Gov. Brad Little on Thursday commented on the U.S. Supreme Court's plans to hold a special hearing today to hear oral arguments on President Joe Biden's OSHA vaccine mandate on private business and the CMS vaccine mandate on health care workers.

He said Idaho is engaged in three lawsuits that are working to halt Biden's vaccine mandates on American citizens.

“We are hopeful the U.S. Supreme Court will act quickly in ruling against these unlawful mandates. The majority of the nation’s governors — including me — oppose Biden’s damaging and ineffective vaccine mandate policies, but he continues to push them on citizens, businesses, and the states,” Little said. “Collectively the states will give a voice to the millions of Americans being coerced and cornered by the President.”

Many health officials continue to call on people to get vaccinated, get booster shots and wear masks when in crowded public places.

In Kootenai County, 41% of the population is fully vaccinated with a booster dose.

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