The coronavirus claimed three more lives in Idaho over the weekend, according to Public Health – Idaho North Central District.
But a change in the way COVID-19 infections and deaths are reported in Washington made the counts in Whitman and Asotin counties unclear Monday.
The deaths reported Monday included two in Idaho County and one in Nez Perce County, for a total death count of 81 in north central Idaho. Two of the fatalities were men and one was a woman. One person was in their 70s; one in their 80s and one in their 90s.
In a news release Whitman County announced it will now be reporting the number of deaths and hospitalizations according to the Washington State Department of Health, rather than local tracking, which has been used up to now.
The number of currently hospitalized patients will no longer be reported, the Whitman County Health Department news release said. The state information provides a clearer picture of the actual data because it also reflects Whitman County residents that have been hospitalized or died outside of the county.
The number of deaths reported Monday — 33, which are 10 more than was reported previously — also includes Whitman County residents who have been hospitalized or died outside the county, the news release said.
The same measuring stick, however, does not currently apply to Asotin County.
Brady Woodbury, head of the Asotin County Health Department, said he also is unsure about the discrepancy between state numbers and county numbers. The state lists 18 deaths in Asotin County, whereas the county has tallied 28 deaths so far.
“It is probably multiple factors,” Woodbury said in a text message to the Lewiston Tribune. “Mostly it is reporting issues. It also may be that the state of Washington has adjusted how they count a COVID death, at least twice since this outbreak started so that could factor in.
“Honestly, we are also trying to figure out the discrepancy in case counts and deaths, too. It is most likely related to reporting and we think our local count is the accurate one.”
Woodbury reported two more infections Sunday and three cases Monday for a total of 1,201 cases. One person is currently hospitalized. He added that he believes a clearer description of the caseload will emerge over the next few days.
Idaho health officials reported three new COVID-19 cases in Clearwater County; seven in Idaho County; 31 in Latah County; three in Lewis County and 15 in Nez Perce County.
Garfield County reported 96 total cases with 12 hospitalizations to date and no new deaths.
The Lewiston School District reported one student infection at Lewiston High School, for a total of 72 student cases since school start. Lewiston schools have seen a total of 266 cases among students and staff since the school year began.
St. Joseph Regional Medical Center reported there are currently three patients who have tested positive and are being hospitalized with COVID-19. That is a decrease from one week ago, when there were seven patients, and from Dec. 28, when there were 13 patients. The high was Nov. 23 with 16 patients being treated for the disease.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare will hold a media briefing about the COVID-19 vaccination effort in Idaho today at 1:30 p.m. PST. Dave Jeppesen, director of the department, and Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch will make brief remarks and an update on the status of the vaccine in the state. Health officials will also answer questions from the media.
The general public can join the briefing in listen or watch-only mode by selecting the link: bit.ly/3nAElxk.
The annual Super Sale event hosted each February at the Nez Perce County Fairgrounds has been postponed and will be held in the fall if conditions allow.
The annual sale is the region’s largest indoor rummage and vendor sale featuring regional businesses, home-based businesses, nonprofits and individual rummage sales. Information about the planning of the Super Sale for the fall will be released as it becomes available. Anyone seeking more information may contact Morgan Carson at IdaVend Broadcasting at (208) 743-1551.
Idaho State University pharmacy students are helping to administer COVID-19 vaccines from Idaho to Alaska.
Because their training for administering immunizations begins in the first week of pharmacy school, students require no additional training, making them a resource for health officials to quickly administer vaccines.
There are about 40 student pharmacists already administering COVID-19 vaccines in hospitals and health clinics across Idaho.
Hedberg may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 983-2326.