Panhandle Health District 800-878-2364

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Informational Hotline: 877-415-5225

Health District 1 COVID-19 public health monitoring and testing* (District 1 covers Kootenai, Bonner, Boundary, Benewah, Shoshone counties)

Confirmed cases: 385

New Cases Today: 44

No longer monitored: 128*

Hospitalizations: 20**

Currently Hospitalized: 5

Numbers updated 12:00pm 07/02/2020
(This data will be updated Monday-Friday at noon)

*A person is no longer being monitored when they have stayed home for our recommended period of time AND have not had a fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers) AND other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
**Hospitalizations is a tally of total hospitalizations of confirmed cases. This does not mean these patients are currently hospitalized, only that they were hospitalized for COVID-19 and are also confirmed positive with COVID-19.
County Total Cases Deaths
Kootenai 325 1
Benewah 13 0
Bonner 33 0
Boundary 1 0
Shoshone 0 0
Undetermined 13 0
TOTAL 385 1

Panhandle Residents with COVID-19 by Age Group

<18 years 48
19 to 49 years 225
≥50 years 112

Panhandle Residents with COVID-19 by Sex

Female 204
Male 181
Unknown 0
____________________________________________________________________________

See latest press releases on our News Page

We are no longer posting a press release for each confirmed COVID-19 case. This page on our website will be updated daily at noon if there are new cases to report. We will post a press release when a county has their first COVID-19 case and if there are any COVID-19 related deaths.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus strain that was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the United States on Jan. 22, in Snohomish County, Wash.

Health experts are concerned about COVID-19 because little is known about the virus and it has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia.

To minimize the risk of spread, health officials in Idaho and throughout the United States are working with healthcare providers to quickly identify and evaluate suspected cases.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. We will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.

The precautions for avoiding COVID-19 are the same as those for avoiding the flu and common cold. Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent novel coronavirus infections.

RESOURCES, GUIDANCE, AND PROTOCOLS FOR BUSINESSES

New Cases of COVID-19 Reported by Date in Panhandle Area
Updated Weekly

Active Cases of COVID-19 Reported by Date in Panhandle Area
Updated Weekly

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are antibody (serological) tests?
A: Serological tests detect antibodies in the blood generated during the immune response to a specific infection, such as COVID-19. They are different from tests such as PCR that detect the virus that causes COVID-19. Many new serological tests for COVID-19 have been developed; however to date only four have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some companies are falsely claiming their serological tests have been approved by the FDA or that they can diagnose COVID-19 infections. The Idaho Division of Public Health discourages the use of unauthorized serology-based assays for diagnosis of COVID-19 or determining someone’s infectious or immune status. Rapid serological tests are not recommended for COVID-19 diagnosis. They detect antibodies generated over time as the body responds to an infection, typically in the second week after a person develops symptoms. People in the early stages of COVID-19 might test negative despite being highly infectious. Additionally, some tests might give a false positive result because of past or present infection with other types of coronaviruses. False positive results are also more likely when the percentage of the population with the disease is low. The Idaho Division of Public Health discourages persons who have a positive serology test from relaxing the precautions such as social distancing that are recommended for all Idahoans to prevent spread of coronavirus, and strongly discourages employers form relaxing the employee protections for an employee solely based upon a positive serology test. The immune response to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection is not well understood. It is not known whether the antibodies detected by serological assays provide immunity to reinfection.

Q: Which serological tests have been authorized by the FDA?
A: As of April 15, 2020, the FDA has issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for four serological tests for COVID-19. All four of these are authorized for use in certified diagnostic laboratories.

  • qSARS-CoV-2 IgG/IgM Rapid Test by Cellex, Inc.
  • VITROS Immunodiagnostics Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Total Reagent Pack by Ortho Clinical Diagnostics • DPP COVID-19 IgM/IgG System by Chembio Diagnostic
  • COVID-19 ELISA IgG Antibody Test by Mount Sinai Laboratory

The full list of diagnostic tests that have received an EUA is posted at https://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/emergency-situations-medical-devices/emergency-use-authorizations#covid19ivd

Q: Why are unauthorized tests available?
A: In March, the FDA issued a policy to allow developers of certain serological tests to begin to market or use their tests once they have performed an evaluation to determine whether their tests are accurate and reliable. This includes allowing developers to market their tests without prior FDA review if certain conditions are met. These tests may only be legally used by certified diagnostic labs. These tests are not approved or authorized by the FDA.

Q: What is the difference between IgM and IgG? What does it mean if I am positive for one but not for the other?
A: IgM antibodies are produced in the early stages of an infection, whereas IgG antibodies generally do not begin to appear until 7 to 10 days after infection. Testing positive for IgM only, or both IgM and IgG suggests you might have a current or recent infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Testing positive for IgG only suggests that you might have had a previous or recent infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Q: How accurate are the available serological tests?
A: The accuracy of currently available tests is highly variable. Tests that have been authorized by the FDA generally have been shown to perform well. Whether a test result accurately tells if you have or do not have the disease partly depends on the percentage of the population that has the disease — the lower that percentage, the less accurate that result is. For questions regarding the how well a particular test works, ask your healthcare provider (if they are the one recommending the test) or consult the manufacturer.

Q: If a person’s blood sample tests negative using a serological test, does that mean that the person does not have COVID-19?
A: Not necessarily. The person might be in the early stages of COVID-19 infection and has not developed enough antibodies to be detected by a serological test. Results from antibody testing alone are not enough to determine whether someone is infected with SARS-CoV-2. If a person’s blood sample tests positive using a serological test, does this mean that this person is immune to COVID-19? We do not know yet whether people who test positive by a serological test are immune to COVID-19.

Q: I was tested and told I have antibodies to COVID-19. How long will they last?
A: It is not known how long antibodies will last following COVID-19 infection.

Q: How do we know if someone who had COVID-19 is still infectious?
A: Antibody tests do not tell us whether a person is infectious. The CDC has issued symptom-based guidance for determining when a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can be released from isolation, meaning that they are no longer considered infectious. These criteria are as follows: at least 10 days after illness onset, no fever, and symptoms have improved for 72 hours.

Q: What does it mean if I test positive for COVID-19 using a serological test?
A: A positive serology test means that you might have antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19, indicating that you were infected by the virus that COVID-19 in the past or might be currently infected, depending on the type of antibodies detected. However, there may be a significant chance that a test can give the wrong result, called a false positive, because of cross-reacting antibodies from previous infections such as those caused by other human coronaviruses.

Q: What does a rapid COVID-19 test mean?
A: A rapid test means that the test results are available in a relatively short time frame, typically less than one hour. For COVID-19, there are two types of rapid tests. Rapid serology tests detect antibodies, whereas rapid diagnostic tests (sometimes called point-of-care diagnostic tests) detect the virus that causes COVID-19.

Q: Is it safe to take care of my elderly parents without wearing a mask or face covering?
A: A test for antibodies does not tell you whether you currently have the COVID-19 virus. Cloth masks and face coverings are recommended to reduce the risk of potential spread to others.

Q: Will DHW or the local public health districts be issuing immunity passports?
A: No. Currently, there is no way to tell whether someone is immune to COVID-19. It is not known whether people who have recovered from COVID-19 are immune from reinfection.

Q: If I test positive on an antibody test, do I still need to get vaccinated when a vaccine is available?
A: It is not known whether antibodies detected using serology tests protect against future COVID-19 infections or for how long that protection might last. Guidance on who should get vaccinated will be provided when there is a licensed COVID-19 vaccine available as this will depend on several factors such as the type of vaccine.

Q: It sounds like a lot is unknown about what a SARS-CoV-2 antibody test really means. What are they good for?
A: Antibody tests might be most useful for estimating the percentage of people in a group that have already been infected and for estimating changes in the percentage of people with SARS-CoV-2 antibody in a community over time. The Idaho Division of Public Health does not recommend the use of antibody tests alone to advise individual patients about whether they have had COVID-19 or are infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Q: If I donate blood or plasma, will I get tested for antibodies against COVID-19?
A: The Red Cross is not currently routinely testing for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.

Q: Where can I donate my plasma so other people can benefit from my antibodies?
A: The Red Cross has partnered with the FDA to identify eligible people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma. See the Red Cross website for more information: https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/dlp/plasma-donations-from-recovered-covid-19patients.html. Vitalant is collecting plasma from people who have recovered from coronavirus to help COVID-19 patients. Vitalant does NOT test for COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 or any antibodies to the infection. Do not donate blood if you are sick.

Q: Why is it difficult to determine an individual’s primary county of residence?
A: Once we receive notification of a confirmed case from a lab, we connect with that individual to verify their information. This can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Contact tracing is voluntary and we rely on an individual’s willingness to participate. Information provided may be incomplete, incorrect, or not provided at all. Those experiencing homelessness or are in a transient living situation are other possible reasons it may take longer to determine a primary county of residence.

We are working diligently to gather complete and accurate information and when we have it we will release it.

Q: Why don’t we release more information on locations and whereabouts of confirmed cases?
A: Beyond the legal reasons why this is not best practice, there are a couple other reasons why we do not make public announcements of the travel/whereabouts of every infected individual. One, we know COIVD-19 spreads through close contact (within 6 feet) of 10 minutes or more. Contracting COVID-19 by passing someone in the grocery store, will likely not spread the infection. Two, making announcements of all the locations a positive COVID-19 client has been would cause undue panic and anxiety that could lead to a massive and unnecessary strain on our health care system.

Q: Can we release the confirmed cases by city instead of county?
A: We urge everyone to take the proper precautions and follow the guidance that the Governor stated in his order, CDC guidance, and guidance we have continued to reiterate. Naming a city will not change our guidance or the potential risk now that we have community spread in Kootenai, Benewah, and Bonner Counties. A virus doesn’t care about city lines or borders, it just wants a host.

Q: What does ‘no longer being monitored’ mean? Why aren’t they ‘recovered’?
A: We don’t use the term “recovered” as that could be misleading because we don’t know at this time if a person can contract COVID-19 more than once. We instead use the term “no longer monitoring”. A person is no longer being monitored when they have stayed home for our recommended period of time and they meet the following conditions:

    • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
      AND
    • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
      AND
    • at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared

Q: Are any confirmed cases hospitalized?
A: The Panhandle Health District COVID-19 webpage keeps a tally of total hospitalizations of confirmed cases. This does not mean these patients are currently hospitalized, only that they were hospitalized for COVID-19 and were also confirmed positive with COVID-19.

Q: What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

A: The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), is not that same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. As of February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19.

Q: What do I do if I get sick?
A: Stay home. Avoid contact with others.

  • Refer to CDC “Steps to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 if you are Sick”

If you are at higher risk of getting very sick, you should:

  • Stay home if possible.
  • Wash your hands
  • Avoid close contact (6 feet, which is about two arm lengths) with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Avoid all cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying condition or if you are sick.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Q: What are the symptoms and can someone spread the virus without having symptoms?
A: People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. We will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.

Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have mild illness.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Q: Who is at highest risk of severe illness and how can I protect myself?
A: Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised
    • Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease
  • See Pregnancy section for information and guidance for that population

Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.

Q: What businesses are allowed to open in Stage 3 of Governor Little’s reopening plan?
A:
Stage 3 of the reopen Idaho plan begins on May 30. Under Stage 3, bars and movie theaters can open if they are able to meet business protocols. Large venues (sporting venues) and nightclubs are to remain closed.

Q: Are large gatherings allowed?
A:
Per Stage 3 of Governor Little’s reopening guidance, gatherings, both public and private, of 10-50 people, where appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures are observed can occur. In Stage 4, gatherings, both public and private, of more than 50 people, where appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures are observed can occur. Further guidance on gatherings can be found at rebound.idaho.gov

Q: What resources are available to businesses? What businesses need to submit plans for approval to the health district?
A: We have created a poster that businesses eligible to open in Stage 1 per the Governor’s guidelines can hang in their windows or on their front door to instruct patrons. We also have a checklist that Stage 1 employers can use to ensure their staff and clients are kept safe and healthy. These items are downloadable on our website. Childcare facilities are not required to submit a formal plan to us, but are encouraged to work with us on guidance for reopening if they have questions.

The state released protocols for Stage 1 for child care facilities, youth activities, and places of worship. Stage 2 general protocols for businesses to reopen have been released as well as close contact services protocols (barbers, hair salons, massage therapists, etc.), gyms and recreational facilities protocols, and restaurant protocols. These protocols are on the PHD website: https://panhandlehealthdistrict.org/covid-19/

Some businesses who will be opening when we reach Stage 2 have been asked to have plans or protocols approved by the health district. These businesses include:

  • Schools (cleaning and disinfecting protocols)
  • Restaurants

Restaurants will submit their plans to us. See above. They will not need to wait for our approval to reopen beginning May 16.

Q: How should healthcare personnel protect themselves when evaluating a patient who may have COVID-19?
A: Although the transmission dynamics have yet to be determined, CDC currently recommends a cautious approach to persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19. Healthcare personnel evaluating PUI or providing care for patients with confirmed COVID-19 should use Standard Precautions, Contact Precautions, Airborne Precautions, and use eye protection (e.g., goggles or a face shield).

Q: Does the health district provide personal protective equipment (PPE)?
A: No, PHD does not supply equipment.

Q: How do you test a patient for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19?
A: Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness. Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever1 and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza. Further guidance can be found on www.cdc.gov

Q: Do patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 need to be admitted to the hospital?
A: Not all patients with COVID-19 require hospital admission. Patients whose clinical presentation warrants in-patient clinical management for supportive medical care should be admitted to the hospital under appropriate isolation precautions. Some patients with an initial mild clinical presentation may worsen in the second week of illness. The decision to monitor these patients in the inpatient or outpatient setting should be made on a case-by-case basis. This decision will depend not only on the clinical presentation, but also on the patient’s ability to engage in monitoring, the ability for safe isolation at home, and the risk of transmission in the patient’s home environment.

Q: Is there guidance for when and how long-term care facilities should accept new admits?
A: Every new asymptomatic admit should be isolated for 14 days after admission to monitor for symptoms.

Symptomatic individuals should not be admitted and stay in the hospital until they can be tested. If the test is negative, then admit and isolate as above for 14 days.

Q: Are long-term care facilities required to let their residents know if there is a confirmed case within their facility?
A: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated on 4/29/2020: Facilities are required to notify residents, their representatives, and families of residents in facilities of the status of COVID-19 in the facility, which includes any new cases of COVID-19 as they are identified. This action supports CMS’ commitment to transparency so that individuals know important information about their environment, or the environment of a loved one.

Q: What is community transmission and do we have it here?
A: Community transmission is defined as illness within a community that lacks connection to travel or other confirmed cases. Based on our investigations of cases, we have community transmission in Kootenai County.

Q: How does the virus spread?
A: The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Q: Can the virus spread from contaminated surfaces or objects?
A: It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.

Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Also, routinely clean frequently touched surfaces.

Q: Is COVID-19 airborne?
A: The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces. 

You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within 1 meter of a person who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands

Q: Can the virus be spread through food, including refrigerated or frozen food?
A: Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.

Q: Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?
A: It is not yet known whether weather and temperature affect the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like those that cause the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months.  There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

Q: How easily does the virus spread?
A: How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious, like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, which means it goes from person-to-person without stopping.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggest that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious.

Q: When to end home isolation (staying home)?
A: People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (are home isolated) can stop home isolation under the following conditions:

    • They have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
      AND
    • other symptoms have improved (for example, when their cough or shortness of breath have improved)
      AND
    • at least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared

Q: Should I be concerned about pets or other animals and COVID-19?
A: We are still learning about how the virus that causes COVID-19 can affect animals.  A small number of pets (cats and dogs) have been confirmed to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with a person with COVID-19. Some pets did not show any signs of illness, but those pets that did get sick all had mild disease that could be taken care of at home. None of the pets have died. Tests for COVID-19 in animals are available for most types of pets, but testing is only recommended for animals with COVID-19 symptoms and that have been exposed to a person with COVID-19.

Based on the limited information available now, the risk of pets spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. There is no reason to abandon or surrender pets that have been confirmed positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • If your pet tests positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, isolate the pet from everyone else, including other pets.
  • Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or any other products not approved for animal use.
  • Only a few pets have been confirmed to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Some pets did not show any signs of illness, but those pets that did get sick all had mild disease that could be taken care of at home. None have died from the infection.
  • If you think your pet has suspected or confirmed COVID-19, call a veterinarian first to discuss what you should do.
  • Pets with confirmed infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 should be restricted to isolation in the home until a veterinarian has determined that they can be around other pets and people.

Q: What is the risk to pregnant women of getting COVID-19? Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with the disease? If they become infected, will they be more sick than other people?
A: We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.

Q: How can pregnant women protect themselves from getting COVID-19?
A: Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:

  • Cover your cough (using your elbow is a good technique)
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Q: Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy?
A: We do not know at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.

Q: Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn?
A: We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. No infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. In these cases, which are a small number, the virus was not found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.

Q: Can I breastfeed if I am confirmed COVID-19 or under investigation for COVID-19?
A: Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. However, much is unknown about COVID-19. Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers.  A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is a symptomatic person under investigation should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast.  If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use. If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.

Q: Should I wear a mask?

A: CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Q: Do I still need to stay 6 feet away from someone if I’m wearing a cloth face covering?
A: Yes. Wearing cloth face coverings is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. CDC still recommends that you stay at least 6 feet away from other people (social distancing), frequent hand cleaning and other everyday preventive actions. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This would be especially important if someone is infected but does not have symptoms.

Q: What type of cloth should I use to make a cloth face covering?
A: Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. T-shirt fabric will work or a bandanna. The CDC has tutorials on their website on how to make cloth face coverings.

Q: How do I clean my cloth face covering?
A: Face coverings should be washed routinely depending on the frequency of use. A washing machine and machine dryer will suffice in properly cleaning the face covering. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your face covering and wash your hands immediately after handling.

Q: What are best practices to protect myself?
A: Remember to take everyday preventive actions that are always recommended to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

    • Get a flu vaccine. There is no vaccine yet for 2019-nCoV, but a flu shot will protect you from the flu and possibly other respiratory illnesses.
    • Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with sick people.
    • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
    • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.

Q: Is it safe to take ibuprofen to treat symptoms of COVID-19?
A: At present, based on currently available information, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen. The WHO is consulting with physicians treating COVID-19 patients and are not aware of reports of any negative effects of ibuprofen, beyond the usual side-effects that limit its use in certain populations. Always consult with your provider before starting any medication.

Q: Can I make hand sanitizer at home?
A: We are not advising making homemade hand sanitizer. The most effective way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses is to wash your hands often with soap and water. Cleaning surfaces and objects that are frequently touched with normal household cleaners is effective in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses.

Q: What can I use to clean and disinfect my home?
A: For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

  • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
    • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
      • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
      • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Q: Can I travel to Idaho from out of state?
A: Per Governor Little’s order, encourage 14-day self-quarantine for people entering Idaho from another country or from an area outside Idaho with substantial community spread or case rates higher than Idaho. Non-essential travel can resume to locations that allow it and do not have ongoing transmission (individuals should adhere to state and CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel).

Q: If I live in one state but work or go to school in another state as part of my normal routine, am I subject to the 14-day quarantine requirement?
A: No. If you work or go to school across the state border as part of your normal daily life, you are not subject to the 14-day quarantine requirement.

Q: Is it safe to travel?
A: CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the following destinations. Most foreign nationals who have been in one of these countries during the previous 14 days will not be allowed to enter the United States.

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel.

CDC recommends that older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel to most global destinations.

Q: Should I travel within the US?
A: The COVID-19 outbreak in United States is a rapidly evolving situation. The status of the outbreak varies by location and state and local authorities are updating their guidance frequently. The White House’s Opening Up America Again plan means some parts of the country may have different guidance than other areas. Check with the state or local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place. Just because there are no restrictions at the time you plan to leave does not mean there won’t be restrictions in place when you arrive.

Per Governor Little’s order, Idahoans should minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.

Q: Is it safe to go on a cruise?
A: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on 4/9/2020 the extension of a No Sail Order for all cruise ships. Cruise ship travel markedly increases the risk and impact of the COVID-19 outbreak within the United States. This Order shall continue in operation until the earliest of three situations. First, the expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency.  Second, the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations.  Or third, 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

Passengers who return from a cruise ship or river cruise voyage are advised to stay home for 14 days, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.

To reduce spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, CDC recommends that crew members and passengers:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.
  • Stay in your cabin when you are sick and let the onboard medical center know immediately if you develop a fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), begin to feel feverish, or have other symptoms (such as cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, or sore throat).

*Doctors or PHD Clinic staff orders are needed to be tested!*

Q: What is the criteria to be tested through PHD?
A:  ANY of the below criteria:

  • New (in last 14 days) symptoms-fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell (please circle)
  • Symptoms are worsening or not resolved
  • Kootenai Health pre-procedural/pre-admission screening
  • Return to Work

High Priority WITH symptoms

  • Healthcare workers
  • First responders
  • Forest Service
  • Resident or worker in shared or congregate living settings-long term care or assisted living facilities, homeless shelters, group homes or shelters, jails and correctional/detention facilities

High Priority WITHOUT symptoms

  • Prioritized by health department-monitoring and surveillance, contact of confirmed case, presence of underlying medical condition or disability, resident in a congregate living setting
  • Racial and ethnic minority groups-African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, and some American Indian tribes

Considered LOW RISK

  • If later they meet any of the above criteria, call the hotline again to be evaluated for testing
  • Refer to the FAQs for further guidance
  • Follow guidelines and protocols for reopening the state
  • Follow CDC recommendations for how to prevent getting sick

Q: Are rapid tests available?
A: Rapid testing is not widely available in our area.

Q: How will I find my COVID-19 test results?
A: Your provider will notify you of your results.

Currently, any patient with a positive test result for COVID-19 will be contacted by local public health and advised on monitoring and movement restrictions after they have been notified by the provider of their result.

Q: What do I do if I’ve been tested, but haven’t heard my results?
A: Stay home! We urge anyone who has been tested and is awaiting their results to self-isolate at home. The provider who wrote the order will contact you with your results.

Q: Where can I find out the number of people being tested in Idaho?
A: The state of Idaho is posting updates on their site with the number of people tested  in Idaho through the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories and private labs. The link is coronavirus.idaho.gov.  The state has also broken out the amount of testing done in each district by date. Results from the most recent week of testing may not be reflected on the state’s site yet. Labs are required by law to report positive cases. Negative results are reported voluntarily by laboratories.

Q: What’s going on at 2207 Ironwood Place across the street from Kootenai Health?
A: Kootenai Clinic has opened a specimen collection site located at 2207 Ironwood in CDA, for suspected COVID-19 infections and flu. Physicians will use an algorithm provided by Kootenai Health to determine whether an individual should be tested at this location. The purpose of the special collection site is to safely collect appropriate samples from patients suspected of these respiratory ailments by staff in full protective cover. Hours M-F 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday Noon to 6 p.m, Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.

Q: Can COVID-19 be prevented or treated?
A: There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19. Although there are investigational COVID-19 vaccines and treatments under development, these investigational products are in the early stages of product development and have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.

  • The FDA reminds consumers to be cautious of websites and stores selling products that claim to prevent, mitigate, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19. Fraudulent COVID-19 products may come in many varieties, including dietary supplements and other foods, as well as products purporting to be drugs, medical devices or vaccines. Products that claim to cure, mitigate, treat, diagnose or prevent disease, but are not proven safe and effective for those purposes, defraud consumers of money and can place consumers at risk for serious harm. Using these products may lead to delays in getting proper diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 and other potentially serious diseases and conditions.

For a complete list of CDC Frequently Asked Questions, visit:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Idaho, visit:

www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov

Panhandle Health District has information on COVID-19 and resources for the community, visit:
www.panhandlehealthdistrict.org/covid-19/