Community Transmission Identified in Benewah & Bonner Counties | Silver Valley News
The Panhandle Health District (PHD) has identified community transmission in Benewah and Bonner counties. In the Panhandle area, community transmission, also referred to as community spread, has been identified in Kootenai, Bonner, and Benewah counties.
Community spread means at least one person has been infected with the virus and through contact tracing we are unable to determine how or where they became infected. The individual(s) did not travel and had no identified contact with another person with COVID-19. PHD urges all residents to assume the virus could be anywhere in the community and surrounding counties.
We have a total of 97 cases of COVID-19 in the Panhandle area as of today. That is an increase of 18 cases since last week. Kootenai county has 78 cases, Benewah county has 7 cases, and Bonner county has 5 cases. We are still researching 7 of the cases to determine what county they primarily reside in. Of the total cases, PHD is no longer monitoring 69 cases, so we have a total of 28 active cases currently.
The CDA Tribe has announced that there are 22 cases associated with the reservation. PHD does realize this does not match their case count for Benewah county. PHD counts cases by an individual's primary county of residence, so the cases the Tribe has announced aren't necessarily all primary residents of Benewah county. Once we receive notification of a confirmed case from a lab, they connect with that individual to verify their information. This can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Contact tracing is voluntary and they rely on an individual’s willingness to participate. Information provided may be incomplete, incorrect, or not provided at all. Those experiencing homelessness or are in a transient living situation are other possible reasons it may take longer to determine a primary county of residence.
PHD will continue to monitor the situation closely and are working with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, our tribal communities, city leaders, schools, emergency management, healthcare providers, and our community at large to help prevent the further spread of this virus.