Three virus deaths reported in north central Idaho

Three deaths caused by COVID-19 were reported Tuesday on the Public Health – Idaho North Central District website.

The deaths were among a Clearwater County man in his 50s, a Nez Perce County woman in her 70s and an Idaho County man in his 80s.

There have been 233 deaths in north central Idaho since March 2020, along with 139 deaths in southeastern Washington, for a regional total of 372 since the start of the pandemic.

Health officials in the region reported 48 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. Whitman County had the most with 17.

Whitman County Public Health on Tuesday announced the availability of free, rapid at-home tests for COVID-19.

The tests are available as part of the “Say Yes! COVID Test At-Home Testing Challenge.” The program’s goal is to use self-administered tests to disrupt the spread of COVID-19.

A news release sent by Whitman County Public Health said “testing on a routine basis offers the best chance of identifying COVID-19 infection and isolating early. The COVID-19 tests are authorized for use by the FDA, provided free of charge, and the entire testing process can be managed privately at home.”

Whitman County residents can order test kits at SayYesCovidHomeTest.org. Also, test kits will be available for pickup at these Whitman County Rural Library District locations starting Dec. 6: Colfax, Albion, Colton, Endicott, Albion, Farmington, Garfield, LaCrosse, Malden, Oakesdale, Palouse, Rosalia, St. John, Tekoa and Uniontown.

Oversight of COVID-19 precautions at Idaho courthouses is largely returning to local judicial districts under an order issued Tuesday by the Idaho Supreme Court.

The order came one day after crisis standards of care ended throughout most of Idaho and as COVID-19 incidence rates have been on the decline.

“In light of the improving circumstances ... we have concluded that further modification of our safety protocols is now warranted,” the Court’s order states.

The provisions of the order generally take effect today, according to a news release sent from the State of Idaho Judicial Branch.

Jury trials may resume starting Dec. 6 unless a county meets one of these two conditions: The county’s seven-day moving average incidence rate of confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19 reaches 25 or more cases per 100,000 population; and crisis standards of care are in effect for the public health district the county is within.

If either of the above conditions are present, courthouse visitors in the affected county must wear masks and maintain social distancing. Individual judges at all times have flexibility to order masking or social distancing if necessary in their courtrooms, or to order that a hearing be held online, according to the news release.