Eight deaths caused by COVID-19 were reported by the Public Health – Idaho North Central District today.
That appears to be the most deaths reported in a single day in the five-county region throughout the pandemic.
The deaths include one man in his 30s and another in his 40s. Here are the full details:
There were three deaths in Nez Perce County, one man in his 40s, one man in his 80s and a woman in her 60s; two deaths in Idaho County, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 60s; two deaths in Clearwater County, a man in his 30s and a man in his 90s; and one death in Latah County, a man in his 60s.
The eight deaths reported Tuesday came after five were reported Monday.
“We have to come together and be unified in our resolve to protect ourselves, our children, our communities and our future with the tools we have available,” said Tara Macke, spokeswoman for health district.
The district recommends these steps to avoid COVID-19:
Get vaccinated, which “is still your best tool to avoid becoming critically ill from COVID-19”; stay home when ill; avoid others who are ill; wash your hands often; avoid gatherings where social distancing can’t be maintained; and wear a face covering in high-risk situations where there are large groups and social distancing can’t be maintained, especially indoors.
The North Central District also reported 64 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with 19 apiece in Nez Perce and Latah counties, 10 in Clearwater County, and eight apiece in Idaho and Lewis counties.
In southeastern Washington, there were also 64 new infections reported Tuesday, with 45 in Whitman County, 17 in Asotin County and two in Garfield County. No deaths were reported.
The Lewiston School District reported 21 new COVID-19 cases among students and staff Tuesday, which brings the active number of cases to 46.
The new student cases included seven at Lewiston High, four apiece at Jenifer Middle and Camelot Elementary, two at Tammany High, and one apiece at Sacajawea Middle and Whitman Elementary. The new staff cases were one at McGhee Elementary and one at Webster Elementary.
Latah County Commissioners in their regular meeting Monday voted to require visitors and employees to wear face masks inside county buildings beginning today.
The move specifically applies to the Latah County Courthouse, the Latah County Annex where vehicle licensing among other departments is housed, and the McConnell Mansion, but will not extend to the Latah County Fair, scheduled for Thursday through Sunday in Moscow.
Commissioner Tom Lamar said the mask requirement is a response to the rapidly rising number of new COVID-19 cases in north central Idaho driven by the more infectious delta variant of the disease. Lamar said the county’s emergency operations center recently heard from physicians with Gritman Medical Center who said hospital staff and resources have been strained by the surge.
“It was extremely concerning,” he said. “They’re weary, they’re tired, they’re full (and) they keep getting full.”
Lamar said it’s also the duty of the county to keep its public offices open so they can continue to provide services to county residents, noting the disruption caused by last week’s illness-related closure of the Department of Licensing.
“We’re the only place to get a marriage license, we’re the only place to get a passport and so on … we need to do everything we can to make sure this facility stays open,” Commissioner Dave McGraw said. “Nobody likes masks, I hate them. I don’t like them, nobody likes them, but if they help us to keep our building open through this whole pandemic thing, then I agree we need the mandate within the facility at least.”
Commissioners said part of the reason the mask mandate will not apply to the fair is because it is too soon to apply new restrictions to the event and those in charge of facilities on the fairground have been working hard to keep air circulating through the space.