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Sandpoint and northern Idaho news and information from our town’s leading sources. Featuring news links from the Sandpoint Reader, and the Sandpoint Online Newsroom. Check the archives of Sandpoint Magazine, read features from local bloggers, writers and more.

Coronavirus news & resources
Local news, announcements and actions concerning the coronavirus.

Current state and regional coronavirus case reports 7/2/2020 @ 4:45 p.m.
One new case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Bonner County Thursday, along with 43 other new cases around the five North Idaho counties, the Panhandle Health District reported. Bonner County has now had 33 total cases to date, of which seven are recovered or no longer being monitored. In the five North Idaho counties covered by the health district, there have been 385 cases, of which 128 are no longer active. There have been 20 hospitalizations to date, of which five are currently hospitalized. There has been one death. By county in our region, along with the 33 cases in Bonner County, there have been 325 in Kootenai County, 13 in Benewah County, one in Boundary County and 12 cases for which county of incidence is not identified. For the health district's latest news releases on regional cases, plus bulletins on various health matters, click to the Panhandle Health District News page.

Statewide, on Thursday Idaho state reported 223 new cases, for a total of 6,593 confirmed cases. There were no additional deaths, leaving the statewide fatalities at 92. A total 98,119 have been tested in Idaho as of Thursday, an increase of 3,582 from the last report on Wednesday. Of the 6,593 confirmed cases around the state, 2,801 are considered recovered; this number was adjusted down from 4,393 after an error in calculations was discovered on July 1, the state reported. There have been 350 cases hospitalized, with 121 admitted to ICU. Washington state on Thursday reported 34,151 confirmed cases, up from 33,345 reported Wednesday, with three additional deaths for 1,342 to date. Washington reported its total tested at 584,989, up from 571,964, of which 5.8 percent have been positive. Spokane County Thursday reported 26,951 have been tested, of which 5.4 percent have tested positive. There were 54 new cases for a total 1,443 confirmed cases in the county Thursday. Spokane County reported no new deaths, leaving its total fatalities at 41 to date.

Governor extends Stage 4 of reopening plan until at least July 10 6/26/2020
A surge in new coronavirus cases around Idaho caused Gov. Brad Little to announce on June 25 the state will remain in Phase 4, the final stage of his Idaho Rebounds plan for reopening. Idaho did not meet the epidemiologic and healthcare criteria to advance past Stage 4, the governor said. Going forward, the state will transition to regional response led by the state's seven public health districts. In Stage 4 all businesses can open, though some must meet distancing and disinfection requirements. Little has called for individuals to step up their personal protections by maintaining distancing, wearing face masks in public, taking care to wash hands and sanitize surfaces, staying home if sick. To meet the ongoing need created by the pandemic, Idaho launched a website dubbed One Idaho, that provides resources for residents and businesses. The Idaho Rebounds initiative also includes assistance to small companies, utilizing federal relief funds to provide $300 million in grants to Idaho businesses.

Personal health resources
If you believe you may have symptoms of the coronavirus, the Panhandle Health District has a hotline with operators to discuss your symptoms and potentially provide a referral for testing. The PHD COVID-19 Informational Hotline is 877-415-5225.

Links to help manage personal and family health:

'Support Local' listings of business operations 6/12/2020
Sandpoint's restaurants, shops, services, and churches have re-opened! With the state progressing through the governor's Idaho Rebounds stages to ensure safe re-opening of economic and social activities, most Sandpoint businesses have opened their doors. Click to the Support Local business directory to find info on hours and operations. Provided by the Sandpoint Chamber and Sandpoint Online. All businesses are invited to add their information with the form on the listings page.

Free food resources for local students and residents 6/1/2020
Here are food resources for all impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Expanded student meals. The Lake Pend Oreille School District provides free breakfast and lunch sacks on weekdays, to those 18 years and under at the following sites. A supper sack will be provided at Farmin Stidwell and Kootenai Elementary schools. All sites are open to all, and children are not required to be present; a parent, guardian or sibling can pick up their meals. With schools now out for summer, a revised schedule may come after June 5. Details at
      - Clark Fork Jr./Sr. High School 11 am- 1 pm PST
      - Kootenai Elementary School 11 am-1 pm PST
      - Farmin Stidwell Elementary School 11 am- 1 pm PST
      - Southside Elementary School 11 am- 1 pm PST
  • Pack River Store has free sack lunches for porch pickup at the store and also other locations on set days; see more on Pack River Store Facebook.
  • Eureka Institute is partnering with local restaurants to provide free meals three days per week: Tostada Tuesdays with Eichardt's Pub & Grill, Wrap & Soup Thursdays with Matchwood Brewing and Community Curry on Fridays at Sandpoint Curry. The grub's free, but donations gratefully accepted to support this effort. Click for details.
  • Bonner Community Food Bank continues but click to Food Bank website to check changes in operations.
  • Get a Meal, Give a Meal has free lunch certificates at restaurants for those in need or front-line workers. See restaurants and details at
  • Free weekly meals. Everyone is welcome to take part in these free meals provided each week by churches and businesses:
      Arlo's has free take-out lunches for kids Mon-Fri, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Pick up at 124 Second Ave. (208) 255-4186
      North Summit Church provide free meals to families in need. Pck up Mon-Fri 4-6 p.m. at 201 N. Division St, or Sagle Community of Christ Church, 950 Sagle Rd. (208) 263-4818
      Hoot Owl Cafe, Highway 200 in Ponderay, serves free dinners to go Mondays, 4-7 p.m. Just swing by.
      Agape Cafe hosted by the Seventh Day Adventist Church serves free lunch Tuesday 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at 221 S. Division (Church of God). (208) 263-3648
      United Methodist Church, 711 Main St, offers free to-go dinners Thursdays 4-6 p.m. No need to call ahead.
      St. Joseph Catholic Church, 601 S. Lincoln in Sandpoint, has a free soup kitchen Fridays 4-6 pm. No need to call ahead. Enter at side door.
  • Other businesses and service groups are offering free food and meals. Go to Sandpoint Community Resource Center for most current info and schedules.

Get a Meal, Give a Meal program continues 6/1/2020
Order a take-out meal and help twice over with the "Get a Meal, Give a Meal" initiative organized by Support beleaguered local restaurants and food service workers by ordering an extra meal for someone also affected by the virus outbreak, such as first responders, healthcare workers or recently unemployed.

Innovia Foundation provides grants to community groups 6/16/2020
The Innovia Foundation has announced a second rounds of grants from its COVID-10 Community Response and Recovery Funds, allocating $39,000 to 12 nonprofit organizations in Bonner and Boundary counties that are working to meet community needs raised by the virus. Innovia in April awarded more than $40,000 in a first round of grants to 15 area nonprofit groups. In Innovia's entire two-state region, several dozen major funding partners including the Equinox Foundation of Sandpoint, have contributed more than $2.7 million

Current information from county and city; links to info sites 5/28/2020
Bonner County and the City of Sandpoint release periodic information relating to the coronavirus outbreak. Following are current releases from City and County.

Volunteer to sew masks or help others during the COVID-19 outbreak 4/13/2020
Groups and individuals are organizing various efforts to help meet needs in our community. Can you volunteer? Here are places to start:

SBA loans and help for businesses from state, Chamber, City, EDC 4/3/2020
The U.S. Government has enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, aka the CARES Act, a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill to assist businesses financially impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Administration effective April 3 is accepting applications for Paycheck Protection Program loans for staffing and payroll expenses, as well as Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Locally, the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce, City of Sandpoint and Bonner County EDC are taking steps to help businesses impacted by the coronavirus.

Relief bill enacted, provides $2 trillion for citizens, small businesses 3/27/2020
Congress passed, and the president today signed, a $2.2 trillion relief bill dubbed the CARES Act, to provide economic stimulus and aid to citizens. It expands unemployment benefits, will send direct payments of up to $1,200 to individuals, and provides federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.

Announced changes to operations, local closures 4/6/2020
Announcements from agencies, groups and businesses. Click links to read details.

Secretary of State: Voting for May 19 primary by mail only 4/13/2020
Due to efforts to reduce spread of the coronavirus, the Idaho Secretary of State has ruled Idaho's May 19 primary election will be conducted by mail only, utilizing the absentee voting process. Click to complete information, including links for voter registration and absentee ballots, at Idaho Votes. For local election information with information on all races plus links for voting, go to Sandpoint Election Central.

Free public Internet hot spot activated downtown 3/27/2020
Ting, in conjunction with the City of Sandpoint and Matchwood Brewing, has activated a free drive-up hot spot for wi-fi Internet in the city parking lot directly east of Matchwood at 503 Oak Street. The free Internet is available 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Click for more information and map.

Contribute your computing power to find a cure 4/7/2020
Want to chip in on the computing power to stop the COVID-19 virus? You can help scientists solve world problems - like a cure for COVID - by adding your computer to a global network for research. See more at World Community Grid; locally you may email Roger at [email protected] to learn more.

Idaho governor extends stay-at-home orders 4/15/2020
Idaho Gov. Brad Little has extended his order for Idahoans to stay home to April, in the effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The order was initially imposed for 21 days, to end April 15. Essential activities, like going to grocery stores or picking up food from restaurants, still are allowed. Outdoor exercise near home is, too.

Idaho state parks remain open, but operations are reduced 3/25/2020
Visitor centers at Idaho state parks closed March 19, and camping was ordered suspended as of March 27. However, parks remain open for day use. All activities, group events and cabin rentals are discontinued. Visitor centers will stay closed through April, possibly longer. Read more at Idaho Parks.

President closes border with Canada; Mexican border to close as well 3/18/2020
In another coronavirus development with particular local impact: The Trump administration today closed the border with Canada to all non-essential travel, which will close the Porthill and Eastport border crossing stations. The administration is likely to close the border with Mexico. Story from PBS Newshour.

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