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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 state and regional coronavirus case reports 8/12/2020 @ 4:50 p.m.
Seven new cases of the coronavirus were reported in Bonner County Wednesday, among 74 new cases and three additional deaths in North Idaho, the Panhandle Health District reported. The new cases in Bonner County bring the total cases here to date to 189, of which 59 are classified as active and seven as probable. The total case count in the five counties covered by the health district to date is 2,330 cases. Of that total, 1,504 cases are no longer monitored as active. There have been 136 hospitalization to date with 26 currently hospitalized. There have been 24 deaths in the district, of which 20 have been in Kootenai County, three in Shoshone County and as of Tuesday, the first death in Benewah County, a man in his 60s. Cases by county in our region are as follows:
Kootenai County: 1,905 | Bonner County: 189 | Benewah County: 67
Boundary County: 38 | Shoshone County: 129 | Undetermined: 21
The health district has begun a periodic assessment of each county to provide guidance for school districts decisions concerning operations. Click for August 5 assessment. In late July the PHD board, by a 4-2 vote, passed a mandate to require face masks in public in Kootenai County. Click to read the emergency declaration or for the Spokesman-Review story. The health district asks all citizens to be vigilant in distancing, use of masks and sanitation. For the Panhandle Health District's latest news releases, click to its News page or Facebook @PanhandleHealth.

Statewide, on Wednesday Idaho state reported 538 new cases since the previous day, for a total of 26,133 confirmed cases. There were no deaths reported, leaving statewide fatalities at 246. A total 212,898 have been tested statewide, an increase of 2,299 over the previous day. Of the total confirmed cases around the state, 9,850 are considered recovered. There have been 1,051 cases hospitalized to date, with a total of 296 admitted to ICU. Washington state on Tuesday reported 64,151 confirmed cases to date, with 1,716 fatalities. Total tested was 954,355, of which 6.7 percent have been positive. Spokane County on Tuesday reported 4,561 cases, with 93 fatalities to date. There have been 49,926 tested in the county, of which 9.1 percent have been positive.

Governor extends Stage 4 of reopening plan for fifth time 8/6/2020
As new cases of the coronavirus continue to climb statewide, Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced in an August 6 news conference that the state will remain in Stage 4 of his reopening plan for its fifth extension. Despite increasing numbers of cases, Little said that as of now, Idaho has sufficient health care workers, PPE, ventilators and intensive care beds at hospitals. Little did not mandate face coverings for the state, although statewide at least seven cities in Idaho Boise, Hailey, Ketchum, McCall, Driggs, Victor and Moscow have implemented public health orders mandating masks be worn in public. 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, and staying home if sick.

Canadian border closure continues, possibly until 2021 7/8/2020
The CBC reported Canada may require the border to stay closed until next year unless "something miraculous" happens to lower COVID-19 rates in the U.S. Story from CBC. The Trump administration on March 18 closed the border with Canada to all non-essential travel, which closed the two Idaho border crossing stations at Porthill and Eastport, 60 miles north of Sandpoint.

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 8/3/2020
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.
  • 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.

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.


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