The region’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic edged up Tuesday with a fatality in Whitman County, while operations at KLEW-TV in Lewiston and the Idaho County Jail were limited by COVID-19 infections.

The man who died in Whitman County was between the ages of 60 and 79 and was the third person there to succumb to COVID-19, according to a news release from the county.

Elsewhere, the disease continued to create challenges in a number of ways. KLEW-TV is not doing its nightly Lewiston news broadcasts after one staff member was confirmed to have COVID-19, and five employees began a two-week quarantine Friday, Station Manager Dan Stellmon said.

The station is serving its viewers through its Facebook page, Twitter and its website as much as possible for the next two weeks, Stellmon said.

“We’ll be back to normal as soon as possible,” he said in a prepared statement. “Please wear a mask when in public and maintain social distancing.”

One inmate at the Idaho County Jail tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the sheriff’s office to suspend fingerprinting, jail visits, work on concealed weapons permits and sex offender registrations, Sheriff Doug Giddings said.

The inmate is recovering and has been isolated from the rest of the jail population.

He exhibited mild coronavirus symptoms, Giddings said, and the jail staff followed the same procedure they do for any ill inmate, taking him across the street to the medical clinic at Syringa Hospital.

“We’re just being cautious, because the virus is a nasty thing,” he said.

Jail staff are continuing to thoroughly clean the jail, which almost always smells like bleach, he said.

Whitman County continues to have more coronavirus cases than anywhere else in the region, hitting a total of 1,551 illnesses with 12 more confirmed Tuesday.

Nine of the cases were in people between the ages of 20 and 39. Two were diagnosed in people 19 years old or younger and one was a woman between the ages of 60 and 79.

Two people in Whitman County are hospitalized, and the remainder are recovering at their homes.

Cases in neighboring Latah County rose steeply Tuesday with 53 more people confirmed to have COVID-19, bringing the total there to 746.

The largest number of the new cases involved individuals between the ages of 18 and 29, with 46 in that category. What factors are contributing to the rise in Latah County aren’t clear.

Tara Macke, a spokeswoman for Public Health – Idaho North Central District, didn’t respond to questions from the Lewiston Tribune Tuesday.

All counties in the area other than Garfield County had increases in coronavirus Tuesday.

In north central Idaho, the number of people who have been sickened with COVID-19 since the pandemic started reached 1,718, including the 53 new cases in Latah County. Out of the 1,718, 26 have died and 776 have recovered.

Nez Perce County had 27 new cases Tuesday for a total of 551, while Idaho County had 16, for a total of 261, Clearwater County had 11 for a total of 108 and Lewis County had three for a total of 52.

One new person was diagnosed in Asotin County on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases there to 161. One Asotin County case is hospitalized.

Williams may be contacted at or (208) 848-2261.

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