Whitman County announced one new coronavirus-related death Thursday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 fatalities in the county in the past two weeks to 10.

The latest victim was a woman older than 80, according to the Whitman County Public Health Department.

Regionally, north central Idaho and southeastern Washington reported 97 new cases of the virus Thursday. That includes 34 in Nez Perce County, 24 in Whitman County, 15 in Latah County, 12 in Asotin County, nine in Idaho County, two in Clearwater County and one in Lewis County.

To date, the region has reported 4,058 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, with 45 deaths. Nearly half of the deaths and a third of the cases have occurred since Oct. 1.

The recent spike in cases prompted the Nez Perce County Office of Emergency Management to issue a news release highlighting the need to maintain social distancing and other safety protocols.

“The virus spread rate has increased rapidly in our communities over the last several weeks,” noted Interim Director William Reynolds. “We are moving into the indoor event season, and we have several upcoming holidays. ... We re-emphasize the need to keep our health care workers, health care system and first responders healthy and functioning. The primary tools for this are physical distancing and good hygiene.”

Idaho as a whole reported 950 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, for a total of 56,600. That was the third-highest daily total since the pandemic began, trailing only the 1,094 cases reported last Friday and 987 cases reported Wednesday.

Washington reported 651 new cases Thursday, bumping its overall total to more than 100,000 since its first case was identified in January. There have been 2,289 coronavirus-related deaths, up three for the day and an increase of 160 for the month.

In other news:

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is partnering with Get Tested COVID-19 to provide a list of designated testing centers in various communities.

Get Tested COVID-19 is a national, volunteer-led project that maintains an accurate, up-to-date online database of COVID-19 testing sites.

If people visit get-tested-covid19.org and type in their ZIP code, they’ll get a list of testing centers located within 40 miles, as well as a map. Each listing also provides information about the specific test sites, including whether an appointment is required, whether a referral from a physician is needed and hours of operation.

The website will be updated weekly with new testing sites as that information become available. Information regarding new testing sites can be emailed to bceh@dhw.idaho.gov.

The Lewiston School District informed parents via email that contact tracing is underway after a student and staff member at Sacajawea Middle School were diagnosed with COVID-19.

“Anyone who is determined to have been in close contact with (either) individual will be provided additional information,” Superintendent Bob Donaldson said in the email. “Schools and classes will remain open in the green phase, and buildings have been cleaned and disinfected.”

The 2020 Holiday Craft Fair, sponsored by the Associated Students of Lewis-Clark State College, has been canceled in accordance with the school’s coronavirus safety protocols.

LCSC is limiting the number of noncampus members inside the Activity Center, in order to protect student-athletes. The college announced earlier this week that the men’s and women’s basketball seasons will begin next month without fans in the stands.

The Holiday Craft Fair is scheduled to return in 2021.

Spence may be contacted at bspence@lmtribune.com or (208) 791-9168.

Recommended for you