Rising infections in Idaho highlight the virus' latest target: Rural America

With just three counties left in the United States with zero COVID-19 cases, rural areas are increasingly becoming hotspots.

10/24/2020 8:25:00 AM

With just three counties left in the United States with zero COVID-19 cases, rural areas are increasingly becoming hotspots.

The state health department reported 950 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing cumulative infections to 56,000 cases since the outbreak began.

Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesWhen it comes to caring for patients withcoronavirusin Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and surrounding rural areas, Kootenai Health is the only game in town.

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"We're pretty much it," said Andrea Nagel, a spokesperson at the hospital, in the northern part of the state near the border with Washington. Critical access hospitals in nearby areas transfer patients they can't handle to Kootenai, and as Idaho's daily COVID-19 cases tick upward space at the hospital is dwindling.

While the number of free beds fluctuates, medical surgical units were 96% full on Friday, according to Nagel, and staff have been calling out-of-state hospitals in Spokane, Seattle, Portland and Salt Lake City to see if they have extra beds should Kootenai become overrun.

MORE: In this small Alaskan town, 5 COVID cases meant an immediate lockdownNagel was careful to add that the emergency room at Kootenai is open and anyone who needs emergency care, COVID-related or otherwise, still can get it."We're hanging in there," she said of the staff, who are starting to feel the pandemic fatigue health care workers in New York and New Jersey described during the spring. Despite the rising cases, however, the regional health department board voted to end Kootenai County's mask mandate earlier this week,

according to The Associated Press.The anti-science backlash from some community members, including comments on social media, taken an additional toll on the hospital workers."It's definitely difficult for them," Nagel said."I know a lot of our medical staff are struggling with that."

On Thursday, the state health department reported 950 new COVID-19 cases, bringing cumulative infections to 56,000 since the outbreak began.ABC NewsIdaho's rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizationsIdaho's rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations

In addition to rising cases and hospitalizations, an average of 34% of tests were positive every day in the past week in Idaho, as of Thursday, according to an ABC analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project. That's nearly seven times the rate that health experts recommend staying below.

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A high positivity rate can be a sign that a state is only testing its sickest patients and failing to cast a net wide enough to accurately capture community transmission, according to Johns Hopkins University. The World Health Organization recommends that governments get their

positivity testing threshold below 5%.At least 553 people in Idaho have died of the virus so far, according to the health department.MORE: NY doctors were at the center of COVID battle. Here's what they say about the fall. Read more: ABC News »

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. How is China doing business during a pandemic? It's Trump's fault right Isn't that what Uncle Joe wants us to think? While we don't pay any attention to him talking about destroying America? Show the Biden scandal. Americans go to Fox news to see the corruption with Biden his son, his brother and his sons partner. Sons partner spilled the beans and fake news hiding it. You wouldn't have voted for Biden if you saw this first. The guys a lying criminal

HUH, Wonder if them 3 counties are making and using my cure I've had it 5 times since March and cured it in 45 min the first time and on contact '(less than 1 min)' the other 4 and NO SIDE EFFECTS been making it for the flu the past 14 years and it kills that in 45 min also KarabakhisAzerbaijan 🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿DontBeleiveArmenia DontBelieveArmenia KardashiansSupportTerrorism KardashiansSupportTerrorism PrayForGandja StopArmenianTerrorism StopArmenianOccupation

Pandemic = everywhere, dearies. I'm in WV, but at a major Gateway county from DC/MD/VA, so we were low, but higher than WV neighboring counties. We are rural, but too many people around trust Trump, so they're 'No Maskers'. We're 'Maskers' and healthy. 'Common Sense = MASKS' who cares? it a a bad flu. that’s all.

Not wearing a mask during Incest has it's consequences. Why are these health care workers wearing masks? Haven’t they heard that republicans think they are useless? Maybe this nurse owns stock in a mask company? Anyway, that seems to be gop logic Yes bc the virus hasn’t hit them yet once the virus hits there is no stoping it

RT WhiteHouse Are those three counties around that corner the LIAR IN CHIEF talks about? ProjectLincoln Hope they maintain that. Trump 2020 Podunks in rural America thought it was a big city problem. They ignored scientists and listened to Trump. Now they are sick and dying. Nope Impeached Trump and his supporters are massively selfish humans and they are responsible for all covid deaths from this point on. Wear a mask!

A Case does not mean you will get sick, it only at best means that that certain test says positive and of that number only some will see actual infection or illness. Wow, who could have ever predicted this? It hit bigger places first and then slowly moved towards rural areas and is still out of control due to a moron who will not encourage, actively, people to wear masks. Amazing no one could have predicted this! Nope, no one.

I don’t care how many new infections there are as long as we recover from it! Open up the schools Those 3 counties probably don’t do any testing then. Because when you do testing there will be cases. The more testing, the more cases. Everybody knows that. And the “president” says it too. It must be true if he says so. Many countries don’t do testing and they have no cases.

These are absolute lies, the stats are manipulated and covid is the biggest scam of the century. PCR 'tests' are not 'tests,' they are 'processes' to amplify/multiply existing molecules. This is done with the spin rate. Exceeding 30 'spins,' you run the chance of false positives. Why are labs told to spin them 35-45 times? Who tells them to?

The human race will endure Means everyone of us must past through this anyway I’m sure they still refuse to wear mask too You mean the Trump plan of it magically disappearing didn’t work? Shocking. Well, when people flock to Sturgis and Trump rallies from rural areas, they're bound to bring COVID right back home.

Herd scare people for ratings devingrant11 stay safe and healthy Godson. 🙏😇

Parts Of Idaho Repeal Mask Mandates Even Though Hospitals Full Of COVID-19 PatientsDoctors and nurses in Idaho have asked officials for help, only to be met with reluctance or even open skepticism. Are these the white supremacist areas of Idaho? Good. I live in Idaho and when I dare to go grocery shopping, most people do not wear masks. The stores do not enforce mask wearing. I have stocked up and don't plan on going out for anything in the next 60 days or more. People in Idaho still think its a hoax. All of this insanity (reopening in full, anti-maskers, etc) a direct result of pushing that 'all opinions matter' and 'alternate facts are valid.' The GOP orchestrated this mindset for decades. This is not an accident.

Idaho County Ditches Mask Mandate Amid Covid-19 SurgeOne health board member denied the existence of Covid-19 entirely. Surge - 1 case to 2 cases right?🥱 Palative Air mask?

Coronavirus case increase sets new U.S. record, rising to over 77K in one dayThe record-breaking tally comes in a week when a top CDC official said the agency is seeing a 'distressing trend' of coronavirus case numbers 'increasing in nearly 75 percent of the country.' The more it rages now the quicker it will be over. We've seen we can't run and hide from this thing so let's just get it over with. But Dear Leader, Lord and Savior trump, said it went away?

America's School Funding Crisis: Budget Cuts, Rising Costs And No Help In Sight'There are about 570,000 fewer local education jobs' this year compared to the start of the previous school year, says Michael Leachman, who studies fiscal policy. 'Those are teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, secretaries, librarians, counselors.' Thats because Blue states refuse to open schools genius. Eliminate the Department of Education and we need a total overhaul of public education. My daughters public high school education has been atrocious, she has 3 days/week where there are no classes in the coronavirus era. This isn't the case in charter and private schools What did anyone expect with such an unqualified pawn put in place? BetsyDeVosED would be happy to see public schools being swallowed up in the crises. VoteThemAllOut

Coronavirus case increase sets new U.S. record, rising to 77K in one dayThe record-breaking tally comes in a week when a top CDC official said the agency is seeing a "distressing trend" of coronavirus case numbers "increasing in nearly 75 percent of the country." Tuberculosis!! Back then (1600s-1800s) it was called 'consumption'. Dementia Donnie told us last night that we were Done with COVID? Did he lie 225,000 Dead and 77,000 cases a day.... TrumpFailedAmerica We are not turning the corner!

A Rising Number Of U.S. Children Have The Option Of In-Person SchoolBy Election Day, more than 60% of U.S. K-12 public school students will be attending schools that offer in-person learning at least a few days a week, an updated tracker finds. this seems like it could go badly in the winter Not if your child is in SFUSD they won't be. Imagine how much sooner we could be getting closer to normal if we had a national plan and a model of safety in charge. trump TrumpHasNoPlan