BOISE (Idaho statesman) – Idaho is trying something new.
With the rapid deterioration of the Idaho coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Brad Little announced Monday that the state would step back and re-enter Stage 3 of its Idaho recovery plan, with several modifications. The main effect of this move is that the limit on indoor gatherings returns to 50 people or less, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25% capacity.
“Things changed for the worse last week,” Little said. “Idaho is in a critical moment. This is unacceptable and we need to do better. “
Personal church services can continue, travel is not restricted and business can remain open, the governor said, and school decisions will still be made locally.
Little announced the move during a press conference at the state home in Idaho, saying that the state̵
“Hospitals in the state are rapidly filling up or are already filling up with COVID-19 patients and other patients, and too many healthcare workers are suffering from COVID-19,” Little said.
In Stage 3, larger venues may not be open to major events, so the relocation may affect some activities outside Hell County, which has been in Stage 3 for some time. Bars may remain open as long as they comply with safety protocols. and collection, including only table seats.
He has repeatedly stressed that Idahoans must exercise personal responsibility during a pandemic. He opposed the implementation of broad orders, such as the state’s mandate for a mask, instead of leaving these decisions to local authorities, including in the areas of public health.
However, this approach did not work. Coronavirus cases in Idaho have increased dramatically in the past month, as the seven-day moving average of the state was nearly 890 new daily cases as of Sunday. This seven-day moving average was 481.3 on October 1.
“I sincerely hope that some people have finally gone through the idea that the pandemic is not real or not a big deal,” Little said.
The Idaho Joint Democratic Council issued a cool statement following Little’s decision. Senator David Nelson, D-Moscow, a member of Little’s Economic Reconstruction Advisory Committee, said the governor “has taken a small step in the right direction by moving Idaho to Stage 3, but needs to start sprinting in the right direction.” ”
“There are minimal differences between stages 3 and 4 in the Idaho recovery plan, as these stages are designed to be used after Idaho has turned around and significantly reduced the risk of coronavirus infection,” Nelson said. “Idahoans are in greater danger than ever. Coronavirus cases are rapidly increasing in all parts of the state and our hospitals are in crisis. In Kutenai and Twin Falls counties, their hospitals are completely full. “
Nelson said Little “has tried the personal responsibility strategy and it just doesn’t work.”
The new order does not affect schools, and Little said that does not mean that everyone should go to full distance learning. School decisions are left to local governments.
“We are putting millions of dollars and significant efforts into the safe operation of schools to ensure that they are safe places to study and work,” Little said. “… We must continue to prioritize safe personal learning for students in Idaho.”
MEDICAL DEBTORS ASK FOR COVID-19
The hospitalization rate in Idaho has increased since the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare recently reported that 259 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized. The outbreak strained hospital resources across the state, especially in the Magic Valley and Eastern Idaho.
Dr Andrew Wilper, chief of staff at Boise Medical Center, spoke to the press conference, saying his staff and hospital were at risk of not being able to serve veterans. When staff are sick or quarantined, clinics may need to close.
Wilper said the veterans he treats risked their lives for their country and now need us. Wilper asked everyone to wear a mask. He said more people had died from the coronavirus than in the last five flu seasons combined, and the country could soon surpass the number of combat deaths recorded during World War II.
The spread of the infection puts VA employees at risk, he said. The VA works to identify out-of-state health workers who can support on-site staff in Idaho.
“We are at war with COVID-19 and we cannot succumb to this virus,” Wilper said. “In Idaho, we must realize that our actions or inactions will lead to the infection and death of our compatriots. Our veterans sacrificed for our country. ”
Wilper passionately defends his patients, many of whom are elderly.
“We live in a country where you can choose to wear a mask because someone was ready to die to have that freedom,” he said. “The same person who helped defend this right needs your help to protect them. They need you to choose something that may be uncomfortable for you. They need you to do what can be an uncomfortable burden on your life. But don’t confuse inconvenience with oppression. “
As of Sunday, 569 Idaho residents had died of COVID-19-related causes. The death toll across the country exceeds 225,000.
St. Luke’s Vice President of Medical Affairs, Dr. Joshua Kern, also spoke at the press conference, encouraging people to remember that medical personnel are “your neighbors” and they are dealing with the aftermath of this deadly and dangerous pandemic.
“We are reaching a critical point,” Kern said. “The number of hospitalized people has reached a new peak.”
Kern focused on some false claims about the virus, such as people claiming they won’t die from COVID-19 and that it’s not a big deal.
“The reality is that it doesn’t make a difference, we see patients in their 30s and 40s,” Kern said.
The spread of COVID-19 is declining
On Sunday, Idaho again set a record seven-day moving average, rising to a daily frequency of 889.14 cases in the last week. The state is constantly breaking its record for 12 consecutive days amid an influx of new cases and hospitalizations.
At least one hospital, the Magic Valley of St. Luke in Twin Falls, had to change its policy due to the excessive number of hospitalized patients with coronavirus. Last week, St. Luke said children in need of hospitalization would be transferred to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise. Current patients will remain in the Magic Valley and the hospital will continue to accept newborns at NICU.
According to the Coeur d’Alene Kootenai Health on Wednesday, it has 99% capacity as coronavirus cases and the number of patients in need of hospitalizations have increased in northern Idaho, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press. Last week, officials in the area said they feared the hospital could be overloaded.
However, on Thursday, the Panhandle Health District Health Council voted 4-3 to end the mandate for Kootenai County. The Coeur d’Alene municipal council then adopted a mandate for the city during a meeting Monday afternoon.