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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.

Local and regional vaccination clinic schedules 1/22/2021
The Idaho vaccine dashboard on Friday reported Bonner County has to date vaccinated 1,982 individuals with at least a first dose, up from 1,811 as last reported Wednesday. The five-county Panhandle Health District has vaccinated 9,773 people with the first dose, up from 9,344 reported Wednesday. Idaho Division of Public Health reported a total 82,475 doses of vaccine have been administered statewide, up from 73,209, of which 54,895 people have received their first dose and 13,732 people have received their second dose and are fully vaccinated.

The Panhandle Health District is now hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics for frontline healthcare workers and others. Click the January 12 vaccination release for details. Locally in Bonner County, on January 14 Bonner General Health announced it will begin COVID-19 vaccination clinics each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with a phased approach that prioritizes health care personnel and long-term care facility residents, then workers in the front line of public service, and next seniors age 65 and older. Use these links to get details:

Current state and regional coronavirus case reports 1/22/2021 @ 6:20 p.m.
There were 26 new cases of the COVID-19 virus confirmed in Bonner County the past day, among 86 new cases overall in the five North Idaho counties and one new death in Kootenai County, the Panhandle Health District reported Friday. The total case count to date in Bonner County is 2,533, of which 756 are classified as active, while there have been 25 deaths to date in the county. The total coronavirus cases reported in the five counties covered by the health district to date are 19,894, of which 5,596 are considered active. There have been 221 total fatalities in the five-county region, with 947 hospitalizations and 54 currently hospitalized. Case statistics by county in our region are as follows:

  • Kootenai County: 15,205 total cases, 4,241 active | 150 deaths
  • Bonner County: 2,533 total cases, 756 active | 25 deaths
  • Benewah County: 516 total cases, 136 active | 6 deaths
  • Boundary County: 700 total cases, 234 active | 10 deaths
  • Shoshone County: 940 total cases, 229 active | 30 deaths

The health district provides assessments of each county's risk levels to provide guidance for business and school district operations. On Friday all five counties remained assessed at red, or "substantial," the highest risk level. Click for risk level criteria. As of November 19, the health district now requires all citizens to wear face coverings when near others in public, and asks everyone to be vigilant in distancing and sanitation. See details on the mask mandate in the next highlighted item below. For Panhandle Health District's latest news releases, click to its News page or Facebook @PanhandleHealth.

Statewide, Idaho state on Friday reported 598 new confirmed and probable virus cases the past day, for a total of 158,798 cases to date. There were 13 additional deaths reported in the state the past day, for a total 1,667 deaths statewide. Another 2,468 Idahoans were tested for the virus the past day, for a total 587,827 Idahoans tested to date. Of the total confirmed cases around the state, 75,041 are estimated recovered. There have been 6,464 cases hospitalized to date, with 1,127 admissions to ICU. Of the total confirmed cases to date, 8,993 are classified as asymptomatic. Washington state on Friday reported 2,162 new confirmed and probable cases the past day, for a total 298,249 to date. Washington reported 4,114 deaths statewide to date, with a total 4,349,779 tested to date. Spokane County on Friday reported 279 new confirmed and probable cases, for 31,696 total to date, and seven new deaths for 438 total fatalities to date. A total 240,778 have been tested to date.

Canadian border closure extended to at least January 21 12/11/2020
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the U.S.-Canada border will remain closed at least until Jan. 21, 2021 in order to “keep Canadians safe” amid the ongoing global health crisis. The rules in effect will continue to apply: Essential travel, including certain workers and transportation of goods, is still allowed to cross the border between the neighboring countries. Nonessential travel is prohibited across the U.S.-Canada border. All persons entering Canada via air are required to isolate or quarantine themselves for 14 days. Click for story. The Trump administration on March 18 closed the border with Canada to all non-essential travel, and Canada subsequently applied its own closure. The closures stop all non-essential travel through the two Idaho border crossing stations at Porthill and Eastport, 60 miles north of Sandpoint.

Health District board issues mask mandate 11/19/2020 @ 3:55 p.m.
With COVID-19 cases spiking and hospitals nearing capacity in the five northern Idaho counties, the Panhandle Health District Board of Health on November 19 issued a mask mandate that "every person in Kootenai, Benewah Bonner, Boundary and Shoshone counties is required to wear a face covering that completely covers the person's nose and mouth when the person is in a public place and physical distancing of 6 feet from others cannot be maintained." There are some exceptions, but violations may incur a fine or imprisonment, the order states. It's in effect for 60 days. Click to read PHD order.

County reduces operations; links to city, county info sites 11/19/2020
Bonner County on November 19 announced reduced staffing measures and operations in order to help keep employees safe as COVID-19 caseloads increase locally. Click for department operations. 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. More links for information from Bonner County and City 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 10/15/2020
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.

Idaho regresses to Stage 2 as case loads continue higher 11/14/2020
After regressing the state from Stage 4 to Stage 3 in October, on November 13, Idaho Gov. Brad Little moved the state back to Stage 2 of his Idaho Rebounds reopening plan – though with some modifications. The biggest impact of the move is on private and public gatherings, which will be limited to 10 people. Bars, nightclubs and some other businesses had to be closed in the original Stage 2, but not under Little's new order. They may remain open as long as they operate under coronavirus guidelines. With the pandemic worsening around the state, Little also announced he is mobilizing 100 members of the Idaho National Guard to support mobile testing, screenings and other logistics. Little did not institute a mask mandate, though he noted about half the state is under mask mandates from local government jurisdictions. Little 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.

'Support Local' listings of business operations 9/18/2020
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.

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

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.

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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