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Governor issues revised COVID-19 guidance

Governor Brad Little at the March 18 press conference to update the COVID-19 situation.

Gov. Brad Little at the March 18 press conference to update the COVID-19 situation. Photo by Catie Clark

Gov. Brad Little issued revised guidance for Idaho regarding the COVID-19 outbreak during a press conference held March 18.

“I need to minimize the risk now … Let’s make sure future generations use (what we do now) as the model for calm and compassion in a time of uncertainty,” stated the Governor.

Both the Governor and State Epidemiologist Christine Hahn spoke to an audience of press representatives, lawmakers and Capitol building staff.

Hahn confirmed that there were currently nine confirmed COVID-19 cases in Idaho, in Ada, Blaine, Madison and Teton counties.

“Two of them have been hospitalized,” she said. “To my knowledge, as of today, they’re both doing OK. I didn’t get an update this morning but my understanding (is that) they are both doing fine. They are recovering.”

She stated that it was now known if any of the confirmed cases involved community spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Governor did address what the state was doing to help with childcare for essential employees in public safety, health care and other industries that do not have the option for remote work or temporary closures.

“We’re working with our state and federal partners … to understand what options are available if facilities have specific needs to allow them to operate more effectively during this time,” he said. “We’re encouraging them to call the Department of Health and Welfare (about) bridge funding and license flexibility.”

Hahn said that the state was working with area universities to build Idaho-specific models of COVID-19 behavior and its impact on the state’s health care capacity to deal with the epidemic.

“A state where everybody goes to work by mass transit is way different than Idaho where most go to work in their own automobile,” Little said. “What works in Cleveland is not what works in Yellow Pine.”

The timeline for the modeling results was not known, though Hahn did imply that the information is needed as soon as possible.

The Governor emphasized that the public should follow the “15 days to slow the spread” directives available on coronavirus.gov and coronavirus.idaho.gov:

  • stay home if you’re sick and contact your health provider;
  • keep your children at home if they are sick and contact your health provider;
  • if you are an older person or have a serious underlying health condition, stay home and away from other people;
  • if someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, keep everyone at home and contact your health provider.

Little added: “If your neighbor is a part of the vulnerable population, ask them how you can help. If you know that a health care or public safety worker needs childcare or (needs) help taking care of things at home, reach out to them. We absolutely need to maintain a strong health care and public safety workforce right now.

The Governor also encouraged everyone to take advantage of the ordering and delivery or curb-side pick-up of groceries and household supplies now available to many in Idaho.

“Please do not hoard groceries and household products,” he said. “America’s supply chain is the strongest in the world. Grocery stores will stay open and will be continually restock. Shop for your needs and no more.”

About Catie Clark

One comment

  1. Childcare needs to be shut down, or we need more resources to keep operating. We cannot be considered “essential” we do not make enough money to be sending employees home without pay, due to people either pulling their children because they can’t afford to pay childcare costs, or keeping them home voluntarily. We are having to send home/lay employees off because we do not have enough children attending. People who have been exposed or live with high risk people are not coming into work or being quarantined. There needs to be a solution to this and fast!