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Information, news and resources on the COVID-19 coronavirus response in Sandpoint, Idaho, and Bonner County, Idaho. Links are provided to relevant information on local, state and national websites and news sources including local Sandpoint-area newspapers.

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

Current local and regional coronavirus case reports 11/24/2021 @ 6:10 p.m.

The Panhandle Health District on Wednesday reported 81 new COVID-19 cases with two deaths in Bonner County the past two days, among 275 new cases overall with five deaths in the five northern counties that comprise the health district. There have been 698 total deaths reported to date in the health district. There have been a total 42,316 COVID cases reported to date, with 2,567 hospitalizations and 81 currently hospitalized.

The ongoing high case numbers has created approximately 1,098 backlogged cases. Case statistics below by county in the health district include new cases reported in the past two days, but may include some numbers from backlogged cases:

  • Bonner County: 81 new cases, 6,391 total | 120 deaths
  • Boundary County: 13 new cases, 1,690 total | 46 deaths
  • Kootenai County: 137 new cases, 30,719 total | 441 deaths
  • Shoshone County: 21 new cases, 2,101 total | 62 deaths
  • Benewah County: 23 new cases, 1,415 total | 29 deaths

The health district provides assessments of each county's risk levels as guidance for business and school operations. On Wednesday all five counties remained assessed at red, the highest risk level, after moving up from minimal and moderate levels in August. Click for risk level criteria. For Panhandle Health District's latest news releases, click to its News page or Facebook @PanhandleHealth.

Current Idaho statewide case reports 11/24/2021 @ 6:15 p.m.
As ongoing high numbers of COVID-19 infections continue to strain resources, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says case data may be incomplete. On Wednesday Idaho state reported there were 570 new confirmed and probable virus cases statewide the past day, for a total of 305,133 cases to date. There were 29 additional deaths reported statewide since Monday, bringing total COVID deaths to 3,891 deaths statewide. The state reported an additional 2,223 were tested for the virus the past two days, bringing the total Idahoans tested to 1,047,709. As of Wednesday, 132,934 of the total confirmed cases around the state are reported recovered. There have been 13,376 cases hospitalized to date, with 2,256 admissions to ICU.

Local and regional vaccination providers 11/24/2021
Idaho has opened COVID-19 vaccinations to all individuals age 12 and over. Local pharmacies take walk-in appointments, or you may schedule an appointment in advance. The State of Idaho has a pre-registration system where you can sign up for an appointment at local or nearby providers, or use its tools to find locations for a walk-in vaccination. Click for info.

Current county and state vaccination counts 11/24/2021
The Idaho COVID-19 dashboard on Wednesday reported a total 854,178 people in Idaho are fully vaccinated, up from 852,247 two days previous and comprising 56.6% of the eligible population. Nationally, 69.2% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated. In Bonner County, the state reported on Wednesday that a total 19,069 have been vaccinated with either first or all shots, an additional 64 from the 19,005 reported Monday and comprising 48.31% of the eligible county population.

Breaking and recent news coverage of coronavirus surge 11/22/2021
Stories from regional health care authorities and media on the COVID-19 surge that is straining health and hospital capacities locally and statewide.

    Nov. 22: North Idaho counties stay on crisis care standards
    The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced that crisis standards of care were being deactivated statewide, except for the five North Idaho counties where hospitals must continue to ration health care due to overloaded facilities and staff. Click for Idaho Statesman story.

    Nov. 3: Vaccinated Idahoans have low rate of 'breakthrough' cases
    Idaho Health and Welfare officials say some COVID-19 infections in vaccinated people — known as a breakthrough cases — are occurring, but the number is low. As of Nov. 3, there were 834,490 Idahoans who are fully vaccinated. Of those, 14,619 have experienced a breakthrough case, which accounts for 1.75% of Idaho’s fully vaccinated population. Click for Idaho Statesman story.

    Oct. 27: COVID cases soar in Panhandle while improving statewide
    The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said although COVID-19 metrics are improving in most of the state, North Idaho is still facing steep caseloads. In much of the Panhandle Health District encompassing the five northern counties, the COVID-19 positivity rate is more than double the state average of 12%. Click for Idaho Statesman story.

    Sept. 7: Area hospitals activate 'Crisis Standards of Care'
    With the surge of COVID-19 patients overtaking available hospital beds and resources, the major hospitals in North Idaho – including Bonner General Health in Sandpoint and Kootenai Health in CdA – on September 7 activated Crisis Standards of Care. The standards are used in emergency situations when there are not enough healthcare resources to provide the usual standard of care to people who need it. For details click to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

U.S. border will open to Canadians 10/13/2021
After a border closure of more than 18 months, vaccinated travelers from Canada and Mexico will be allowed to enter the United States by land for nonessential travel starting in early November. Although Canada re-opened its border to Americans in early August, the U.S. border has remained closed to travelers from Canada since March 21, 2020. Click for Spokesman-Review story. For Americans to enter Canada, a full COVID-19 vaccination must be completed at least 14 days prior to entry; entry will be denied to travelers who are not vaccinated. Vaccinated travelers don't need to quarantine unless they show COVID-19 symptoms. However, all visitors must prepare quarantine plans. The land border closures had stopped all non-essential travel through the two Idaho border crossing stations at Porthill and Eastport, 60 miles north of Sandpoint.

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

Links to help manage personal and family health:

Free food resources for local families and residents
Here are food resources for those impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Expanded student meals. The Lake Pend Oreille School District provides free breakfast and lunch on weekdays, to those 18 years and under regardless of household income utilizing federal funding from the USDA. Details and applications at the district website,
  • Bonner Community Food Bank continues services but click to Food Bank website to check any changes in operations.
  • Free weekly meals. Everyone is welcome to take part in these free meals provided each week by churches and businesses:
      North Summit Church provide free meals to families in need. Pick 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.-1:30 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 free packaged to-go meals 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 current info and daily schedules.

Help for businesses from SBA, state, Bonner EDC 3/26/2021
The U.S. Government has enacted multiple programs to assist businesses financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Paycheck Protection Program, Shatter Venues Grants and more. The State of Idaho also has assistance programs for Idaho companies, while locally the Bonner County Economic Development Corporation can provide guidance. Click links for more details.

'Support Local' listings of business operations
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.

Links to city, county COVID-19 info sites 3/26/2021
Both the City of Sandpoint and Bonner County governments have modified operations during the pandemic; use the links below for current informaiton. The Bonner County Emergency Operations Center is collecting and managing information regarding local COVID-19. Click to email Bonner County EOC or call 208-255-6901. Here are links for COVID-19 information from Bonner County and City of Sandpoint:

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.

Innovia Foundation provides grants to community groups 3/18/2021
The Innovia Foundation has has provided multiple rounds of grants from its COVID-10 Community Response and Recovery Funds during the course of the pandemic. Innovia in March 2021 announced its latest round of grants to 14 nonprofit organizations serving Bonner and Boundary counties, totally more than $129,00. In Innovia's entire two-state region, several dozen major funding partners including the Equinox Foundation of Sandpoint, have contributed several million dollars to the fund.

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 state parks remain open, but operations are reduced 3/26/2021
Idaho's 30 state parks are open for day use and camping, but the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation urges visitors to follow COVID-19 precautions. Read more at Idaho Parks.


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