Panhandle Health District 800-878-2364

Coronavirus

COVID-19 Hotline: 877-415-5225 (Mon-Fri 9am-Noon & 1pm-4pm, Excluding Holidays)

  • Total Cases: 42,433
  • New Cases Today : 117
  • Approximate Back-logged Cases: 1,019
  • Deaths: 698
  • Currently Hospitalized: 81
  • Hospitalizations: 2,567*
  • Closed Cases: 41,206**
Numbers updated 11/26/2021

(This data will be updated Mon-Fri at or prior to 5pm, excluding holidays)

*Hospitalized and Hospitalizations include residents of Health District 1 (5 northern counties) that are hospitalized or have been hospitalized anywhere, including out of state. 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. **Closed cases include those who are No longer monitored, Refused Monitoring, Individuals who we were unable to reach, or are Deceased. Active cases are those who are actively being monitored by the health district in order to monitor their symptoms and advise when they should leave isolation and can be around others. 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 24 hours (that is one full day 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.

County Risk Levels: Updated at 10:45am 11/17/21

Kootenai County

Benewah County

Bonner County

Boundary County

Shoshone County

Categories are determined based on the metrics outlined in the PHD COVID-19 Risk Levels by County document linked to the left. These categories are recommendations only and final decisions are made by local school boards. Private and charter schools should use the category based on the address of their facility and associated school district boundary. These are weekly assessments of community spread and will updated on Thursdays. If category designations are adjusted then schools and families should expect transition time as changes may or may not be immediate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are any of the vaccines approved by the FDA?
A. The Pfizer vaccine received full approval by the FDA for those 16 years and older on August 23, 2021.

I need a COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption Form. Can the health district provide me one?
A.
The State of Idaho nor the health districts have any such forms. At this time, the only forms available are the current school and childcare exemption forms, but those do not have a spot for covid or other vaccine. Refer the individual back to their employer as they would be responsible for letting the employee know of what documentation is needed.

Can I make an appointment to discuss a potential medical exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine?
A.
If the individual is a current patient, pass down to clinic. If the person is not a PHD patient, please direct them to their primary care physician. If the individual does not have a PCP, let them know that we are not writing medical exemptions.

Do reports of COVID-19-related side effects in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) means the reported problem was caused by a vaccine?
Co-managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), VAERS is a national early warning system to detect possible safety problems in U.S.-licensed vaccines. VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning it relies on individuals to send in reports of their experiences to CDC and FDA. Anyone can submit a report to VAERS, including parents and patients who believe they may have experienced an adverse reaction to a vaccine. Reports of adverse events (possible side effects) after vaccination do not mean that the reported problem was caused by a vaccine. Reports are used as signals to alert scientists of possible cause-and-effect relationships that need to be investigated.

How common are breakthrough cases?
A. Vaccine breakthrough cases are expected. COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19. It’s possible a person could be infected just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. It typically takes about 2 weeks for the body to build protection after vaccination, so a person could get sick if the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. As of 10/27, there have been a total of 13,285 breakthrough cases in the entire state of Idaho. Breakthrough cases make up approximately 0.63% of those fully vaccinated statewide. This data can be found on coronavirus.idaho.gov and click on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard and look under the Statewide Demographics tab. In the Panhandle, there have been a total of 1,431 vaccine breakthrough cases as of 10/27/2021.

Where can I find data on vaccinated and unvaccinated cases, hospitalizations, and deaths?
A. We don’t track this data locally, although some local hospitals have reported that the large majority (over 95%) of those hospitalized are unvaccinated. The state does report vaccinated and unvaccinated cases, hospitalizations, and deaths here: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/idaho.division.of.public.health/viz/DPHIdahoCOVID-19Dashboard/Home. Click on the Case Characteristics tab.

Is it possible to become infected with the Delta variant after you have been fully vaccinated?
A. The Delta variant can, in rare cases, infect a fully vaccinated individual. That being said the individual may experience no or very mild symptoms, but is still able to carry the virus and potentially spread it to others. This is why it’s important for everyone to mask again indoors, we need to protect the unvaccinated. The CDC described Delta as more transmissible than the common cold and influenza, as well as the viruses that cause Ebola, smallpox, MERS, and SARS—and called it as contagious as chickenpox. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates, and virtually all hospitalizations and deaths have been among the unvaccinated, the CDC says.

Are the vaccines effective against the variants, in particular the Delta variant?
A.
A Public Health England analysis (in a preprint that has not yet been peer-reviewed) showed that at least two vaccines are effective against Delta. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease and 96% effective against hospitalization from Delta in the studies.

Moderna has also reported on studies (not yet peer-reviewed) that showed its vaccine to be effective against Delta and several other mutations (researchers noted only a ”modest reduction in neutralizing titers” against Delta when compared to its effectiveness against the original virus).

Is it safe for me to receive the vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding?
A. Based on new evidence about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, CDC is strengthening its recommendation for COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. A new analysis of current data from the v-safe pregnancy registry assessed vaccination early in pregnancy and did not find an increased risk for miscarriage among people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriage rates after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were similar to the expected rate of miscarriage. Additionally, previous findings from three safety monitoring systems did not find any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated late in pregnancy or for their babies. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine make you magnetic?
A.
No, the COVID-19 vaccine can’t give you magnetic properties, including at the site of vaccination (your arm). There is nothing in the vaccines that can produce an electromagnetic field. All COVID-19 vaccines don’t have any metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth alloys. They also don’t have any manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, or nanowire semiconductors.

How do people declare residency status for what state their vaccination is counted in?
A.
Vaccination coverage rates are based on Idaho county of residence (declared by the patient, but usually verified by some form of identification and/or proof of public/private insurance) as long as the vaccine was administered in Idaho. If an Idaho resident gets vaccinated in another state, it’s not going to show up on the state’s dashboard, but it will be in IRIS if the person requests that their vaccination record be shared with Idaho’s IRIS. Their vaccination status WILL show up for Idaho’s coverage rates on CDC’s Data Tracker. Conversely, if someone from another state gets vaccinated in Idaho, it doesn’t affect our coverage rates in our dashboard, but does get reported in Total Doses Administered on the Coronavirus home page.

How common is anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccine?
A. Severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, can occur after any vaccination. Anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination is rare.If this occurs, vaccination providers can effectively and immediately treat the reaction.

Anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination occurred in approximately 2 to 5 people per million vaccinated in the United States based on events reported to VAERS. This kind of allergic reaction almost always occurs within 30 minutes after vaccination. After you get a COVID-19 vaccine, you will be asked to stay for 15 minutes, so you can be observed in case you have a severe allergic reaction and provided treatment in the rare case it is needed. Fortunately, vaccination providers have medicines available to effectively and immediately treat patients who experience anaphylaxis following vaccination.

Will individuals who have received the COVID-19 vaccine “shed” mRNA or spike protiens?
A. Claims that individuals who have received COVID-19 vaccines then “shed” mRNA or spike proteins are circulating widely on social media. Anti-vaccine organizations and other groups that embrace conspiracy theories and pseudoscience are asserting that this “shedding” puts unvaccinated individuals at risk of harm. One of several debunked claims includes the belief that an unvaccinated woman’s menstrual cycle can be altered simply by their being in proximity to a vaccinated individual. In reality, those vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine cannot and do not shed mRNA or spike proteins, or any other elements associated with these vaccines.

Are people dying after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?
A.
Over 230 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through April 26, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 3,848 reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. CDC and FDA physicians review each case report of death as soon as notified and CDC requests medical records to further assess reports. A review of available clinical information including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records revealed no evidence that vaccination contributed to patient deaths. CDC and FDA will continue to investigate reports of adverse events, including deaths, reported to VAERS.

What is a ‘breakthrough’ case?
A.
A breakthrough case is someone who has been fully vaccinated, but tests positive for COVID-19 more than 14 days after receiving their second dose or their first dose of J&J. Vaccine breakthrough cases are expected. COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness.

Should I receive the vaccine if I have allergies?
A.
CDC recommends that people get vaccinated even if they have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.

If you have had an immediate allergic reaction to other types of vaccine—even if it was not severe— ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated.

Q: I heard the COVID-19 vaccines were developed with or contains controversial substances. Is this true?
A:
The first two COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) to be authorized by the FDA contain mRNA and other, normal vaccine ingredients, such as fats (which protect the mRNA), salts, as well as a small amount of sugar. These COVID-19 vaccines were not developed using fetal tissue, and they do not contain any material, such as implants, microchips or tracking devices.

The vaccine formula for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine also does not contain aborted fetal tissue. Rather, virologists created J&J’s vaccine — and many other immunizations to fight viral outbreaks — in part by growing a modified virus in cells originally derived from embryonic tissue from an abortion performed decades ago. However, that human cell line is physically and chemically separate from ingredients that end up in the final vaccine product. Historical fetal cell lines were derived in the 1960’s and 1970’s from elective abortions that have been used to create vaccines for diseases such as hepatitis A, rubella, and rabies. Abortions or spontaneous miscarriages from which fetal cells were obtained were elective and were not done for the purpose of vaccine development.

If I’m exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 after I’m vaccinated, do I still need to quarantine?
A. Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others. To reduce their risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others: CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people:

  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
    • Fully vaccinated people might choose to mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in their household is unvaccinated. People who are at increased risk for severe disease include older adults and those who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, overweight or obesity, and heart conditions.
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Get tested 5-7 days following the date of their exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
  • Isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow any applicable federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations
  • If I test positive for COVID-19 after I get vaccinated, do I still need to isolate?
    A.
    You should isolate if you test positive for COVID-19 even after you have received the COVID-19 vaccine.If I get symptoms of COVID-19 after I get vaccinated, do I still need to get tested?
    A.
    If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested.

Q: Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID-19?
A: None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. However, the goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

Q: Do I still need to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve already had COVID?
A: Yes. Vaccination should be offered to persons regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

Q: Can’t we build natural immunity against COVID-19?
A: Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. But experts don’t know how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.

How much will the vaccine cost?
A. The vaccine is free. Enrolled providers can charge insurance an administration fee, but the consumer should not be billed. If someone is uninsured, the administration fee will be waived. If an individual receives a bill, please ask them to contact the provider who administered their vaccine.

Q: Can the COVID-19 vaccine change my DNA?
A:
The COVID-19 vaccine’s currently seeking authorization are mRNA vaccines. They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way.

  • mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept.
  • The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.

Q. Who Needs an Additional Dose/Third dose of COVID-19 Vaccine?
A. Currently, CDC is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose. This includes people who have

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.

  1. Who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and what vaccines are approved for booster doses?
    A.
    COVID-19 Vaccine booster shots are available for the following Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients who completed their initial series at least 6 months (JJ after 2 months) ago and are:
  1. Am I still considered fully vaccinated if I don’t get a booster shot?
    A.
    Yes. Everyone is still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-shot series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine.

 

  1. Are booster shots the same formulation as existing vaccines?
    A.
    Yes. COVID-19 booster shots are the same formulation as the current COVID-19 vaccines. However, in the case of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, it is half the dose of the vaccine people get for their initial series.

 

  1. When can I get a COVID-19 booster shot if I am NOT in one of the recommended groups?
    A.
    Additional populations may be recommended to receive a booster shot as more data become available. The COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the United States continue to be effectiveat reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Experts are looking at all available data to understand how well the vaccines are working for different populations. This includes looking at how new variants, like Delta, affect vaccine effectiveness.
  2. Can I “mix and match” COVID vaccines for my booster? Example: I received Moderna for my primary vaccine series and now would like Pfizer.
    A.
    COVID-19 vaccines may be administered as a booster dose following completion of primary vaccination with a different available COVID-19 vaccine. The eligible population(s) and dosing interval for a booster dose are the same as those authorized for a booster dose of the vaccine used for primary vaccination.
  • For example, Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine recipients 18 years of age and older may receive a single booster dose of Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (half dose) or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine at least two months after receiving their Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine primary vaccination.
  • In another example, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine recipients falling into one of the authorized categories for boosters (65 years of age and older, 18 through 64 years of age at high-risk of severe COVID-19, and 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2) may receive a booster dose of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (half dose), Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine or Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine at least six months after completing their primary vaccination.When should an immunocompromised individual receive their supplemental dose?
    A. The authorizations for these vaccines have been amended to allow for an additional, or third, dose to be administered at least 28 days following the two-dose regimen of the same vaccine to individuals 18 years of age or older (ages 12 or older for Pfizer-BioNTech) who have undergone solid organ transplantation, or who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for several monoclonal antibody treatments for mild or moderate COVID-19 for those at high risk of developing severe disease and hospitalization due to COVID-19. Due to limited supply, however, there is no guarantee the treatment will be available for everyone, and it may not be effective in all cases. The COVID-19 vaccine remains the best protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and even death.

What is Monoclonal Antibody Treatment?

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made molecules that act as substitute antibodies. They can help your immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus, making it more difficult for the virus to reproduce and cause harm.
Monoclonal antibodies have shown to be effective
in reversing sickness caused by COVID-19 and have reduced the risk of hospitalization by 70 percent in clinical trials. However, they do not teach the body to produce its own antibodies and may leave a person exposed to future COVID-19 infection. Monoclonal antibody treatments are not a replacement for the COVID-19 vaccine, which remains the best way to protect from severe illness, hospitalization or death.

Who is eligible to receive this treatment?

The treatment is reserved for high-risk patients. It requires a referral from a doctor or other healthcare provider and a positive virus test, which is an FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 test that finds the virus’ genetic material or molecules from its surface.

Where can I receive treatment?
A. It is available from a growing number of healthcare providers in Idaho. In our area, Heritage Health and Northwest Specialty Hospital are offering this treatment and additional information can be found by calling or visiting their website. Additional sites are listed at https://protect-public.hhs.gov/pages/therapeutics-distribution. Your provider will need to refer you for treatment if you are ill with COVID-19 and qualify. There’s no guarantee you’ll have access to monoclonal antibody treatment if you get sick. The vaccine is still the best tool we have to prevent serious illness and hospitalization.

Does PHD offer this treatment or offer referrals for this treatment?

PHD does not offer monoclonal antibody treatment. For established PHD patients, we will assess and write a referral if medically recommended. We do not write referrals for those who are not PHD patients.

Can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine or a booster shot after receiving monocloncal antibody treatment?

Yes, you can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine or your booster, but wait 90 days after receiving the mAB treatment before receiving the vaccine.

Has a COVID vaccine been approved for children younger than 12?
A.
The FDA and the CDC have expanded the usage of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 and older.

Where can children younger than 12 receive the vaccine?
A.
The off-site clinics we operate at Heyburn Elementary in St. Maries and Forrest Bird Charter in Sandpoint will not offer vaccines for the 5-11 age group as these clinics do not offer the level of privacy we feel is necessary to make this younger age group comfortable.

More information will be on our website this week for scheduling 5-11 year old kids at PHD office locations. Other vaccine providers who we are aware of offering pediatric vaccines include:

  • Panhandle Health District Office Locations
  • Walgreens (CDA and Post Falls locations)
  • Lakeside Pediatrics
  • CDA Pediatrics
  • Heritage Health
  • Kaniksu HealthIs it safe for my child to receive the vaccine?
    A.The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children age 5 through 11 who received the vaccine and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study.How effective is the vaccine in this younger age group?
    A.
    Immune responses of children 5 through 11 years of age were comparable to those of individuals 16 through 25 years of age. In addition, the vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 through 11.Have studies been conducted in this younger age group?
    A.
    The effectiveness data to support the EUA in children down to 5 years of age is based on an ongoing randomized, placebo-controlled study that has enrolled approximately 4,700 children 5 through 11 years of age.  The study is being conducted in the U.S., Finland, Poland and Spain. Children in the vaccine group received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine containing 10 micrograms of messenger RNA per dose. The FDA analyzed data that compared the immune response of 264 participants from this study to 253 participants 16 through 25 years of age who had two higher doses of the vaccine in a previous study which determined the vaccine to be effective in preventing COVID-19. The immune responses of the younger age participants were comparable to the older participants.What side effects will my child possibly experience?
    A.
    Commonly reported side effects in the clinical trial included injection site pain (sore arm), redness and swelling, fatigue, headache, muscle and/or joint pain, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, nausea and decreased appetite. More children reported side effects after the second dose than after the first dose. Side effects were generally mild to moderate in severity and occurred within two days after vaccination, and most went away within one to two days.Is the vaccine being administered for 5-11 year old children the same as the adult vaccine?
    A.
    The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart, but is a lower dose (10 micrograms) than that used for individuals 12 years of age and older (30 micrograms).Q. Can kids get other vaccines at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine?
    A.
    Yes. It is safe to administer other vaccines at the same time as the COVID vaccine.

Q: Can a child be vaccinated without parental consent?

A:  No. Any child under the age of 18 needs parental consent to receive the vaccine at any of the clinics PHD offers.

Can the vaccine effect puberty or fertility in my child?

A. No, the rumors related to COVID-19 vaccines affecting puberty or fertility are unfounded. The mRNA vaccines are processed near the injection site and activated immune system cells travel through the lymph system to nearby lymph nodes. In this manner, they are not affecting hormone levels, nor are they traveling throughout the body to other parts of the body. As such, there would not be a biological reason to expect that maturation or reproductive functionality of either males or females would be negatively affected by COVID-19 vaccination now or in years to follow.

Is it necessary to vaccinate kids? I thought they don’t get as sick as adults.

A. In the U.S., COVID-19 cases in children 5 through 11 years of age make up 39% of cases in individuals younger than 18 years of age. According to the CDC, approximately 8,300 COVID-19 cases in children 5 through 11 years of age resulted in hospitalization. As of Oct. 17, 691 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S. in individuals less than 18 years of age, with 146 deaths in the 5 through 11 years age group.

Is there anywhere I can receive a free COVID-19 test if I do not have insurance?
A.
Yes, Walgreens pharmacies are offering no-cost testing regardless of insurance. You can also dial 211 to request a free test in Idaho. PHD offers VAULT tests for free at all of our office locations. VAULT tests are a saliva-based PCR test that you take at home.

Where is testing available in North Idaho?
A.
Check out our COVID-19 Testing Site Map.

  1. Are there any free at-home COVID-19 tests available?
  2. Yes. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) is now offering free at-home COVID-19 tests to Idaho residents. Tests can be requested by calling 2-1-1. No personal information is required other than a name and mailing address. DHW is working with VAULT Medical to provide COVID-19 PCR testing on saliva. These tests involve collecting saliva and mailing it to a laboratory that analyzes the sample. Saliva collection can be done in the convenience of an individual’s home with the assistance of a trained VAULT Medical observer via a virtual Zoom visit.

All major US pharmacies now carry over-the-counter Covid-19 at-home tests for purchase in store or online. Video proctoring may be required to verify test result. Please follow up with your PCP if you test positive for Covid-19.

Azova. At-Home Collection Kit. Saliva specimen must be shipped back to Azova for analysis. $119, approved for Hawaii and Bermuda travel, order through Costco, 2-8 days for results, order kit 1-2 weeks prior to travel, no shipping on Sunday.

BinaxNow. At-Home DIY rapid testing Kit. Download NAVICA app to have a telehealth proctor verify your test by video. $20 at Walmart and RiteAid, smart phone required.

Ellume. At-Home DIY rapid testing Kit.  $65, purchase online 2-3 weeks before travel, good for domestic travel and select international travel, smart phone required.

EverlyWell. At-Home Collection Kit. Nasal swab must be shipped back to everlywell for analysis.  $109, purchase online 2-8 days wait, 18yr +, EUA.

LabCorp Pixel. At-Home Collection Kit.  Nasal swab must be shipped back to Pixel for analysis.  $119 or free for uninsured who meet certain criteria (symptomatic, exposure, work/live in congregate setting, order online 2 days wait.

Let’s Get Checked. At-Home Collection Kit. Nasal swab must be shipped back to Letsgetchecked for analysis. $119 or FREE through 2-1-1, smart phone required, order and wait is 2-7 days.

Phosphorous. At-Home Collection Kit. Saliva specimen must be shipped back to Phosphorous for analysis.  $139 at Alberstons and Safeway, $49 with insurance when ordered online, access to internet required, results in 24-48hrs once shipped (not including Sat/Sun).

Vault (free for Idaho residents through the Idaho Department of Health). At-Home Collection Kit. Saliva specimen must be shipped back to Vault for analysis. Learn more

eMed offering a 6-pack of BinaxNOW tests for $150.00 and needs to be ordered in advance from eMed.com.

  1. I’m traveling to Hawaii and need a COVID-19 test. Where do I go?
    A.
    Beginning July 8, 2021, individuals fully vaccinated in the United States or its Territories may enter Hawaii on domestic flights without pre-travel testing/quarantine starting the 15th day after the completion of their vaccination. All other travelers must have their negative test results from a Trusted Testing and Travel Partner prior to departing as an alternative to Hawaii’s mandatory 10-day quarantine.As of June 15, all passengers who are not in quarantine are free to travel between islands without restriction.Are rapid, at-home tests acceptable for travel if you are returning to the U.S. from traveling internationally?
    A.
    Rapid tests are acceptable as long as they are a viral test acceptable, meaning the test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or antigen test) with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).The testing procedure must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection. Some FDA-authorized self-tests that include a telehealth service may require a prescription.The telehealth provider must confirm the person’s identity, observe the specimen collection and testing procedures, confirm the test result, and issue a report.
    Airlines and other aircraft operators must be able to review and confirm the person’s identity and the test result details. The passenger must also be able to present the documentation of test results to U.S. officials at the port of entry and local/state health departments, if requested.What information must be included on the test result for returning to the U.S. after traveling internationally?A. A test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy). The documentation must include:

    1. Type of test (indicating it is a NAAT or antigen test)
    2. Entity issuing the result (e.g. laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service)
    3. Specimen collection date. A negative test result must show the specimen was collected within the 3 days before the flight. A positive test result for documentation of recovery from COVID-19 must show the specimen was collected within the 3 months before the flight.
    4. Information that identifies the person (full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number)
    5. Test Result

Q: Is data available on COVID-19 variant cases?
A:  Yes, the state of Idaho is reporting COVID-19 variant case data on their COVID-19 data dashboard on coronavirus.idaho.gov.

Can I receive a test for a COVID-19 variant?
A.
Currently, testing sites in our area are not sequencing for the variants, but Kootenai Health’s testing site is sending their labs to the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (IBL) to be sequenced.

Right now there is limited but growing SARS-CoV-2 sequencing capacity within Idaho. IDHW is working to increase the number of Idaho labs that can perform this sequencing.

How can a mask help if viruses are so small?
A. Viruses are very small. However, viruses don’t move on their own, they must be transmitted in some way. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is transmitted in droplets that come through the nose and mouth. Using a mask creates a barrier that greatly decreases the potential to transmit droplets that could be carrying virus. If everyone wears a mask, we can keep everyone’s germs (droplets) to themselves.

Just as we all cover our cough or sneeze with our elbow or a tissue to keep droplets with germs and viruses from spreading to others, masks also help keep the droplets with germs and viruses from spreading. Wearing a mask is about protecting others.

Can people get sick from increased carbon dioxide intake while wearing a mask?
A. No. There is enough filtration of air through a mask that wearers do not have increased carbon dioxide intake. Viruses, although very small, are much larger than molecules of oxygen or carbon dioxide which readily pass through masks.

CO2 makes up only about 0.04% of the air we breathe, and is considered life-threatening when its concentration is greater than about 10%.

A cloth mask does not provide an airtight fit across the face. The CO2 completely escapes into the air through and around the sides of the cloth mask when you breathe out or talk. CO2 is small enough to easily pass through any cloth mask material. In contrast, the virus that causes COVID-19 is much larger than CO2, so it cannot pass as easily through a properly designed and properly worn cloth mask.

Q: Can I be re-infected with COVID-19?
A:
In general, reinfection means a person was infected (got sick) once, recovered, and then later became infected again. Based on what we know from similar viruses, some reinfections are expected. CDC is actively working to learn more about reinfection to inform public health action. CDC developed recommendations for public health professionals to help decide when and how to test someone for suspected reinfection. CDC has also provided information for state and local health departments to help investigate suspected cases of reinfection.

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 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: 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.

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/

Coronavirus (Covid-19) History/Symptoms

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.

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.