The second positive case of COVID-19 in the Public Health — Idaho North Central District turned up Wednesday in an Idaho County individual in their 70s.

A district news release said the person is hospitalized. Their gender and which hospital were not disclosed, and an investigation into the case is in its preliminary stages. The patient’s health care provider acted appropriately by ruling out influenza, discussing exposure risk and determining that a COVID-19 test was necessary, the news release stated.

“Epidemiologists with (the health district) will work to determine reasonable risk criteria for locations visited by this patient and any close contacts of that individual who were possibly exposed,” the release said. “If other people are found to have possibly been exposed, public health officials will provide guidance to them and will monitor them closely for symptoms. Additional case-specific information about this individual is confidential and will not be released.”

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories also disclosed Wednesday that the Nez Perce County resident who had the health district’s first positive COVID-19 test earlier this week is an employee at its Lewiston facility.

“They are self-isolating at home and are doing well,” an SEL statement said of the employee, who is younger than 60. “We are working closely with the Public Health Department, Idaho North Central District, to ensure that those who have been in close contact with our employee have been notified and are self-isolating.”

The statement said the company is following guidelines established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct an additional disinfection of any affected workspaces.

Also on Wednesday, the Latah County Commission adopted an ordinance that prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people and dining in at restaurants and bars in unincorporated areas of the county until May 5.

Deary, Moscow, Potlatch and Troy have implemented the same or similar orders in their towns.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little issued a stay-at-home order with similar restrictions, although Little banned all gatherings outside of the home regardless of size. (See related story.)

Nez Perce Tribe spokeswoman Kayeloni Scott said there were still no positive tests as of Wednesday afternoon at Nimiipuu Health. Across the state line in Washington, Garfield County Health District Administrator Martha Lanman reported no positives, and neither did Asotin County Public Health Administrator Brady Woodbury. Whitman County Public Health Director Troy Henderson said he had no new positive tests beyond the two that were returned earlier this week.

Henderson reiterated his concerns about the ongoing lack of testing capabilities and a shortage of personal protective equipment for first responders and health care providers, however.

Moscow’s Gritman Medical Center announced a new online assessment tool for those without access to testing. Anyone concerned they may have COVID-19 may text “COVID19” to (208) 295-5080 to receive a link to the tool.

Joel Mills may be contacted at or (208) 848-2266.

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