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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 1/14/2022 @ 5:30 p.m.

The Panhandle Health District on Friday reported 22 new COVID-19 cases in Bonner County the past day, among 237 new cases overall with no new deaths reported in the five northern counties that comprise the health district. There have been 811 total COVID deaths reported to date in the health district. There have been a total 46,845 COVID cases reported to date, of which 45,720 have been closed. There have been 2,804 hospitalizations with 133 currently hospitalized, an increase of six from the previous day.

With high infection rates continuing in the district, there are currently 167 backlogged cases for which data may not yet be reported, or for which data is reported late. Case statistics reported by county in the health district, with new cases reported the past day, are as follows:

  • Bonner County: 22 new cases, 7,070 total | 155 deaths
  • Boundary County: 6 new cases, 1,780 total | 51 deaths
  • Kootenai County: 363 new cases, 33,532 total | 504 deaths
  • Shoshone County: 9 new cases, 2,276 total | 70 deaths
  • Benewah County: 6 new cases, 1,799 total | 31 deaths

The health district provides assessments of each county's risk levels as guidance for business and school operations. On Friday, Bonner, Kootenai and Benewah counties were assessed as red, the highest risk level; Shoshone County and Boundary counties, previously assessed orange and yellow respectively, were elevated as well to the red risk level. 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 1/14/2022 @ 5:30 p.m.
On Friday, Idaho state reported there were 3,266 new confirmed and probable virus cases statewide the past day, for a total of 339,690 cases to date. There were seven additional deaths reported statewide, bringing the total COVID deaths to 4,270 deaths statewide. Idaho reporting indicates an additional 3,626 Idahoans were tested for COVID the past day, for a total 1,121,101 Idahoans tested to date.

Local and regional vaccination providers 1/14/2022
Idaho has opened COVID-19 vaccinations to all individuals age 12 and over. 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 1/14/2022
The Idaho COVID-19 dashboard on Friday reported a total 901,624 people in Idaho are fully vaccinated, up from the 900,850 reported the previous day, and comprising 57.3% of the population age 12 and up. Nationally, 71.7% of the population age 12 and older is fully vaccinated. In Bonner County, the state reported a total 17,984 people are fully vaccinated, an increase of 11 from 17,973 reported the previous day and constituting 45% of the total population.

Breaking and recent news coverage of coronavirus surge 1/11/2022
Stories from regional health care authorities and media on the COVID-19 pandemic that is straining health and hospital capacities locally and statewide.

    Jan. 11: 'Tremendous stress' as omicron surges in Idaho
    COVID-19 cases are surging, the positivity rate has doubled and hundreds of health care workers are out sick as the omicron variant spreads in Idaho, health officials reported. Click for Idaho Statesman story.

    Jan. 5: Idaho cases spike amid national omicron wave
    COVID-19 infections are rising quickly in Idaho, according to data from the Department of Health and Welfare. Cases are surging nationally, the vast majority of which are the highly contagious variant called omicron. Click for Idaho Statesman story.

    Jan. 4: Warning issued for at-home COVID test purchases
    As many people have taken to purchasing at-home test kits online, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning that a number of fake and unauthorized test kits are popping up online as scammers look to take advantage of this new market. Click for Idaho Statesman story.

    Dec. 20: Idaho hospitals deactivate crisis standards of care
    The state deactivated the "crisis standards of care" that had been in effect in North Idaho since September 6. While hospitals are still experiencing a high volume of COVID-19 patients, the number no longer exceeds the health care resources available. Click for Idaho Statesman story.

    Nov. 3: Vaccinated Idahoans have low rate of 'breakthrough' cases
    Idaho Health and Welfare officials say some COVID-19 infections in vaccinated people — known as a breakthrough cases — are occurring, but the number is low. As of Nov. 3, there were 834,490 Idahoans who are fully vaccinated. Of those, 14,619 have experienced a breakthrough case, which accounts for 1.75% of Idaho’s fully vaccinated population. Click for Idaho Statesman story.

    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,
    • 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 dinners Thursdays 4-6 p.m., either indoors on site or to-go. 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.

    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:

    U.S. border is now open to Canadians 12/13/2021
    After a border closure of more than 18 months, vaccinated travelers from Canada and Mexico are again allowed to enter the United States by land for nonessential travel as of November. Although Canada re-opened its border to Americans in early August, the U.S. border had remained closed to travelers from Canada since March 21, 2020. Click for Spokesman-Review story. For Americans 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 had stopped all non-essential travel through the two Idaho border crossing stations at Porthill and Eastport, 60 miles north of Sandpoint.

    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.

    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.

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