Over the last few days Benewah Community Hospital confirmed four new positive cases of coronavirus among community members.

This follows a recent outbreak of coronavirus from last week that has left some local businesses temporarily closed and others on high alert.

The total of positive cases to have come through Benewah Community Hospital is at 12 at the time of this report. Ten of the patients being actively monitored and two patients are no longer being monitored.

Recently positive test results have affected Shift and Grind Coffee, the Grapple and the Milling Center who have closed temporarily.

Another business affected, One Shot Charlies posted on their Facebook that they do plan to reopen and that they are deep cleaning and rounding up staff that is willing to work.

As cases increase in northern Idaho, multiple cities and counties have implemented mask mandates. Most recently the city of Wallace in Shoshone County enacted a mask mandate that started last week.

On July 6, the American Health Association issued an open letter urging the American people to protect themselves and their fellow community members by wearing masks. The letter says that many health officials in the United States strongly urge citizens to take extreme precautions while in public.

“We are urging the American public to take the simple steps we know will help stop the spread of the virus: wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing, and washing hands,” The letter states. “We are not powerless in this public health crisis, and we can defeat it in the same way we defeated previous threats to public health—by allowing science and evidence to shape our decisions and inform our actions.”

To date there has been no mention of a mask mandate in the city of St. Maries or Benewah County.

Idaho will also continue to be in phase four of Governor Brad Little's phased reopening plan for at least another two weeks due to the state once again not meeting the case criteria.

According to Panhandle Health, there are 33 cases of coronavirus in Benewah County.

For more information or if you think that you are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, call the Benewah Community Hospital at 208-245-5551 or Panhandle Health at 208-245-4556.

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