By Mike Weland
Panhandle health district reported the first two deaths related to covid-19 in Bonner County on Wednesday. The individuals, a man and a woman, were in their 80s.
With one new death today in Shoshone County, there have been a total of 70 COVID-19 related deaths in the Idaho Panhandle, 45 in Kootenai county residents, three in Benewah county, one a Boundary county resident, and 19 were residents of Shoshone county.
There were 62 new covid-19 cases confirmed today in the Idaho Panhandle, bringing the total to 4,131. Statewide, 718 newly confirmed cases today brings the number of cases to 50,610 with 517 Idahoans dead of the illness.
In Lincoln county, 15 new covid-19 cases confirmed Wednesday and another today bring the case total to 224.
Statewide, 735 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in Montana in the day ending at 10 a.m. today bring the state total to 20,933 cases. With 15 more deaths today, the toll in Big Sky Country is now 230.
In British Columbia, the interior health region counted two new cases today, bringing the case count to 587. Province wide, 142 new cases confirmed today bring the total to 11,034. 250 British Columbians has lost 250 to novel coronavirus.
According to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, there have now been 7,979,236 cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 7:25 p.m. Eastern today, with 217,683 Americans dead.
In Canada, there have been 194,362 cases and 9,756 deaths.
As predicted by health experts mid-summer, the autumn wave of the coronavirus has reached a dangerous new stage, with the number of new daily cases having risen almost 50 percent in the U.S. over the past month.
The onset of cooler weather, which is driving more people indoors, seems to be playing a big role, experts say … And many people seem to have grown tired of pandemic restrictions, leading to the lifting of those restrictions prematurely.
As COVID-19 cases increase in communities across Idaho, Governor Brad Little urged Idahoans to ramp up personal actions to slow the spread of the virus to protect lives and our economic prosperity.
“Our personal actions work better to slow the spread of coronavirus than anything else. Our personal actions are free of cost and a minor sacrifice relative to the rewards,” Little said in a release issued today. “This is about personal responsibility – something Idaho is all about. Wear a mask. Watch your distance from others. Wash your hands. Do these things so our kids can stay in school, our loved ones stay safe, and our economy can continue to prosper.”
Little emphasized the direct connection between rising COVID-19 case counts in communities and strain on healthcare facilities. Increased community spread results in more healthcare workers getting sick and more hospitalized Idahoans, impacting Idahoans’ access to ordinary essential health care.
“This has been the goal of our COVID-19 response from the beginning – slow the spread of the virus so you and your family do not lose access to critical care for ordinary health care, a situation that damages lives and our economy,” Little said.
The greatest rates of spread are occurring in eastern Idaho. Fourteen hospitals in southern and southeastern Idaho issued a joint statement today saying in part:
“Hospitals throughout the region are experiencing the highest number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 ever seen throughout the pandemic. This is placing a significant strain on hospital resources. Healthcare workers are the most valuable asset in the healthcare system, even more so than bed availability … We are asking our communities to practice the personal responsibility behaviors that science has indicated will reduce the spread of COVID-19, as well as other infectious illnesses such as influenza. The choices our residents make have a direct impact on whether we have the human resources necessary to care for our community.”
Wearing a mask remains the most effective way to protect yourself and others. Idahoans are urged to practice safe measures not just in public but also in their close circle of family and friends.
Idaho will continue to evaluate statewide metrics every two weeks to determine if the state will move out of Stage 4 of the Idaho Rebounds plan.