Boundary Co. records first COVID-19 death

News editor | August 27, 2020 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — The Panhandle Health District reported on Wednesday the first death related to novel coronavirus in Boundary County.

The district said the man was in his 70s and had been hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19.

Out of respect to him and his family, no additional details will be released, the district said.

“Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones during this difficult time,” said Lora Whalen, PHD director.

The virus has claimed 43 lives in the Panhandle, according to the district. Twenty-nine of the deaths occurred in Kootenai County and another 12 deaths occurred in Shoshone County, according to PHD. There has also been one death in Benewah County.

Bonner County is the only northern county where the virus has not taken a life, the district said.

PHD urges all residents to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes, practicing physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings in public places, practicing good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, sanitizing high-touch surfaces regularly and isolating immediately if people show symptoms of COVID-19.

Hill’s Resort at Priest Lake reported on Tuesday that one of its employees tested positive for the virus, prompting the resort to close down its lounge and restaurant on Wednesday. The resort’s front desk, store and dock operations will remain open, however.

“We have been diligently sanitizing, masking and social distancing to the best of our ability in the business we are in. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will update the public as we know more,” the resort said in a post to its Facebook page.

Panhandle Health reported 18 new probable or confirmed cases of the virus on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 2,667 since the pandemic began. The district said 2,645 of the cases are confirmed through laboratory analysis and 2,286 cases are closed, meaning residents are no longer being monitored, have refused monitoring or have died.

The virus caused 158 hospitalizations in the five northern counties and 21 people currently remain hospitalized, the district said.

Bonner County saw two new infections on Wednesday, bringing the county’s total to 212 cases, 206 of which are lab-confirmed, the district said.

Kootenai County added 14 cases on Wednesday, lifting the county’s total to 2,119, 2,104 of which are lab confirmed.

Boundary County, meanwhile, has had 43 cases, all of which are lab-confirmed. The district said six of Boundary County’s cases are active.

Shoshone County added no new cases on Wednesday and has seen 191 cases over the course of the pandemic. The district said 190 cases are lab-confirmed and 76 cases are active.

Benewah County added one new case and has accrued 102 cases over the pandemic. The district said 101 of the cases are confirmed and 27 cases are active.

The Northeast Tri-County Health District in Washington state reported three confirmed infections, two of which emerged in Ferry County and one of turned up in Stevens County.

Pend Oreille County had no new infections on Wednesday and has had 54 confirmed cases since the outbreak began. Stevens County has had 123 cases and Ferry has had 25 cases.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.