Positive COVID cases in Benewah County are on the rise again according to Panhandle Health District (PHD).

Last week the PHD reported on its COVID-19 dashboard that there were 80 confirmed cases from October 31 to November 6.

November 1 saw the second-highest spike in single day cases reported with a total of 33 cases compared to the all-time high of 37 cases which was reported on June 23.

PHD Public Information Officer Katherine Hoyer said last week Benewah County had the worst positive rate of COVID cases out of all of the five northern counties. All of the counties are currently in the red level of COVID case severity according to PHD.

Why the cases were high last week could be due to a couple of reasons, according to Hoyer.

The way some of the cases are reported may be a contributing factor as Marimn Health tends to submit large batches of confirmed COVID cases at a time where Benewah Community Hospital may submit cases as soon as they receive confirmation from the lab according to Hoyer.

“Typically the BCH labs come in once processed,” Hoyer said. “Marimn Health partnered with us to do case investigations for us. They’ll do the investigations and then hand over the batch.”

“That’s partially why there is a high case rate,” Hoyer said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that had to do with the severe numbers.”

Hoyer also said the high case rates may be due to low vaccination rates in Benewah and the rest of the five northern counties. 

“None of the counties we cover have a high vaccination rate,” she said. “We are still in about 40 percent vaccination rate overall and about 45 percent for each individual county.”

Hoyer said other measures can be taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the district. She said that those who feel sick should stay home and to wear masks in crowded areas.

“We are expecting to see more cases as people don’t change their behavior,” Hoyer said. “We are also entering into the time where people like to gather for the holiday season.”

Hoyer said the PHD is still continuing its vaccine clinics in St. Maries from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Heyburn Elementary gym.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are available. 

For more information contact the local Panhandle Health District office at 208-245-4556.

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