Another person has died from the coronavirus in Nez Perce County, bringing the number of fatalities from COVID-19 in the region to 25, including four in September.
“The individual was in their sixties and had underlying health conditions,” said Tara Macke, a spokeswoman from Public Health – Idaho North Central District in an email. Macke declined to share more information about the fatality, which was reported Monday.
In a separate development, the Lewiston School District reported its first case of the school year on a day when many counties reported new cases.
The person who has been diagnosed is a staff member at Webster Elementary, is isolating at home and has not been hospitalized, said Superintendent Bob Donaldson.
The district informed parents and staff members by email.
But the district has determined no additional actions are required beyond what was outlined in the emails that indicated anyone identified as a close contact would get additional information about next steps, Donaldson said.
The individual contracted COVID-19 somewhere other than the school, and school district officials don’t believe the person transmitted the disease to any students or staff members, he said.
“That’s the analysis of the health district as well,” he said.
Overall the school year seems to be going well, with students and staff complying with district rules about wearing face coverings, Donaldson said.
The high school, for example, is going through about 300 disposable masks per day because students are using them when they forget face coverings at home.
“We’ve tried to be right on top of things from the very start of the year,” Donaldson said.
Across the river, Asotin County has had a “few” cases that have been associated with the schools, said Brady Woodbury, Asotin County Public Health administrator, in a text.
“As far as I am aware, we haven’t seen any spread of the virus occurring in the school setting,” he said.
Elsewhere in the region, one employee in the Salmon River School District tested positive, but is doing fine and the district hasn’t experienced any other cases, said Superintendent Jim Doramus in a text.
In Moscow, at the University of Idaho, 25 new cases were confirmed in tests from Sept. 12 through Friday, with 4.71 percent of the tests coming back positive, according to a Monday update.
That compares with 1.32 percent of all tests being positive since testing began in mid-August.
The new illnesses involved mostly asymptomatic students and employees, according to a sharply worded message from University of Idaho President Scott Green, who linked the rise to Labor Day trips.
He urged anyone who traveled to be tested before they return to class.
“There is no defense for those who travel out of our community, then return and, as a result of not being tested, infect others,” he said.
In north central Idaho, there were a total of 124 new cases, with 13 in Nez Perce County, 16 in Latah County, 91 in Idaho County, four in Clearwater County and none in Lewis County.
North central Idaho has had 23 deaths, all in Nez Perce County. Of the region’s overall 950 cases, 424 are considered active.
The tally of cases in Whitman County rose to 1,171, with 59 new cases on Monday. The county hasn’t had any deaths and only three people have been hospitalized, including one patient who is currently getting care.
Asotin County, which has had two deaths, went from 87 cases Friday to 95 Monday, while Garfield County hit a total of 13 cases, with one new case over the weekend.
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