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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 local and regional coronavirus case reports 9/9102021 @ 5:35 p.m.

There were 33 new cases of the COVID-19 virus confirmed in Bonner County the past day, among 153 new cases overall in the five North Idaho counties with no additional deaths, the Panhandle Health District reported Friday. The total COVID cases reported to date in the five counties covered by the health district are 31,422, of which 5,243 are considered active. PHD reported there have been 381 total fatalities recorded in the five-county region, with 1,803 hospitalizations and 112 currently hospitalized. Case statistics by county in the health district are as follows:

  • Bonner County: 4,199 total cases, 700 active | 52 deaths
  • Boundary County: 1,082 total cases, 171 active | 14 deaths
  • Kootenai County: 23,619 total cases, 3,922 active | 260 deaths
  • Shoshone County: 1,597 total cases, 316 active | 44 deaths
  • Benewah County: 925 total cases, 134 active | 11 deaths

The health district provides assessments of each county's risk levels as guidance for business and school operations. On Friday all five counties remained assessed at red, or substantial risk level, after moving up from minimal and moderate levels last month. 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 9/10/2021 @ 5:40 p.m.
On Friday Idaho state reported there were 1,574 new confirmed and probable virus cases statewide the past day, for a total of 232,630 cases to date. There were 13 new deaths recorded the past day, bringing the total deaths statewide at 2,460. The state reported a total 906,535 Idahoans have been tested for the virus to date, up from 903,544 reported the previous day. As of Friday, 121,968 of the total confirmed cases around the state are estimated recovered. There have been 10,311 cases hospitalized to date, with 1,715 admissions to ICU. Of the total confirmed cases to date, 12,636 are classified as asymptomatic.

Local and regional vaccination providers 9/10/2021
Idaho has opened COVID-19 vaccinations to all individuals age 12 and over. Many 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 9/10/2021
The Idaho COVID-19 dashboard on Friday reported a total 840,846 people in Idaho have received at least one dose of the vaccine, up from 838,385 the previous day and comprising 55.7% of the eligible population. Nationally, 73.4% of the eligible population has received at least one vaccination. In Bonner County, the state reported a total 17,230 have been vaccinated with either first or all shots, an additional 63 from 17,167 reported the previous day and comprising 43.65% of the eligible county population. Of the total vaccinated statewide to date, 90,331 people have received their first dose in the two-dose series, and 750,553 people are fully vaccinated with either the two-dose or single-dose vaccines.

Breaking and recent news coverage of coronavirus surge 9/8/2021
Stories from regional health care authorities and media on the COVID-19 surge that is straining health and hospital capacities locally and statewide.

    Sept. 8: New COVID cases reach record level in Idaho
    The state’s seven-day moving average of COVID-19 cases reached a record 1,760 per day on Wednesday, surpassing the previous high of 1,653 per day set on Dec. 10, 2020. There were 15 new deaths recorded around the state. 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.

    Aug. 31: Statewide only four ICU beds now available
    Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced deployment of National Guard to assist health care organizations and said there are only four ICU beds available in hospitals in the entire state. Hospitals are converting conference rooms and other spaces to care for patients struggling to breathe. Click to Idaho Statesman story.

    Aug. 25: Kootenai Health hospitalizations at record level
    COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Idaho have hit their highest level since start of the pandemic, and Kootenai Health in Coeur d'Alene is converting classroom space into patient care units. Click for Idaho Statesman story.

    Aug. 20: COVID-19 hospitalizations hit record in Spokane County
    There are more people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Spokane County – and Washington state – than ever before in the pandemic. Click for Spokesman-Review story.

Canada reopens border, but U.S. remains closed 8/20/2021
After more than 16 months of closure, Canada reopened its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents on August 9, but the U.S. extended the closure of its land borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travel such as tourism through Sept. 21. Click for Reuters News Agency story. 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 for the past year had stopped all non-essential travel through the two Idaho border crossing stations at Porthill and Eastport, 60 miles north of Sandpoint. The border was closed on both sides on March 21, 2020, with the closure extended monthly until Canada's reopening.

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, LPOSD.org.
  • 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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