A Benewah County Deputy has tested both positive and negative for COVID-19.
In addition, Benewah Community Hospital reported that on June 8, they were notified an individual from the community tested positive for COVID-19 at another facility. The Gazette Record could not determine if that individual was a BCSO deputy.
According to Benewah County Sherriff Dave Resser, a deputy came into contact with a man whose wife was in intensive care at Kootenai Health after testing positive for COVID-19.
“It started with a traffic stop that the deputy made Sunday afternoon. After the traffic stop was completed the driver of the vehicle told the deputy that his wife testest positive with COVID-19,” Sheriff Resser said. “Why he did not relay that to the deputy in the first place, I have no idea. The deputy contacted me…I had very little information, so I sent him home.”
The following day, Monday, June 8, Sheriff Resser said he was informed that the man the deputy stopped had tested negative for COVID-19.
“I talked to the deputy and let him know he had not had any contact with anyone that had the virus and to go ahead and return to work,” Sheriff Resser said.
According to Sheriff Resser the deputy was still concerned. He told Sheriff Resser that he was ill in January and could have had COVID-19 then. At that point the sheriff told the deputy to get tested at Marimn Health in Plummer.
The test the deputy received at Marimn Health returned positive. Despite the positive result, the deputy returned to work. Sheriff Resser said he made that decision because he believed that the test could have been positive because of the deputy’s illness in January.
“I have been told by a lot of medical people that if you have coronavirus once or a certain type of flu that you will test positive,” Sheriff Resser said.
The Centers for Disease Control dispute that the flu or flu vaccine will cause a positive COVID-19 test as the flu virus strains are unrelated to SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19. The unfounded claim is commonly perpetuated.
According to the CDC, an antibody test for COVID-19 is a blood test that can determine past infection by the virus that causes COVID-19. A viral test, typically a nasal swab, is used to determine a current infection.
“Knowing what we knew at that time it was possible that he (the deputy) had the virus at an earlier date or the flu,” Sheriff Resser said.
After speaking with Panhandle Health District, Sheriff Resser advised the deputy to receive an additional COVID-19 test at Benewah Community Hospital. That test came back negative.
A third test, that will be reviewed by a state lab, was administered. The results of that test are expected back in 3 to 5 days.
“We are having him quarantine until the test results are back,” Sheriff Resser said. “If it is positive then we will have him quarantine and if it comes back negative we will put him back to work.”
It is unknown how many people the deputy came into contact with while on patrol June 8.
Sheriff Resser said that he instructed BCSO staff concerned they came into contact with the deputy to contact Panhandle Health to provide information for contact tracing purposes. Operations at the BCSO will continue.
“We are doing our best in a very volatile situation…I can’t shut down the sheriff’s office for 14 days,” Sheriff Resser said.
According to a June 8 announcement, BCH has completed 100 COVID tests with 100 negative results.