Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Idaho Governor Hopes to Reopen Idaho Full Throttle By Mid-June
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While the lockdown has turned a lot of Wood River Valley residents into dog walking maniacs, Jack Sept has taken to walking his horse Windy River in the canyons south of Bellevue where he doesn’t have to worry about social distancing. PHOTO: Anne Jeffery
 
Friday, April 24, 2020
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTO BY ANNE JEFFERY

Idaho’s governor hopes to reopen most of the Gem State by mid-June.

Gov. Brad Little unveiled a four-stage roadmap to reopening during a press conference on Thursday. But he warned that the road to recovery will take place as planned only if people continue to physical distance themselves and abide by the current stay-at-home order.

 
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Paul Ries added just one new case of confirmed coronavirus to Blaine County's COVID-19 graph.
 

  • Stage 1 will go into effect on Friday, May 1, after the current stay-at-home order expires. Both retail stores and churches will be allowed to reopen, provided they maintain appropriate physical distancing. Dine-in restaurants, gyms, and bars will remain closed, and large gatherings will still be discouraged.
  • Stage 2, from May 16 to May 29, will allow restaurants, gyms and hair and nail salons to reopen as long as they can meet guidelines. Restaurants will need to have a reopening plan approved by the local public health district.
  • Stage 3, projected for May 30 to June 12, will allow gatherings of up to 50 people, provided precautionary measures are observed. Those who are deemed vulnerable because of their age or health issues will be allowed to return to public life but should continue to practice physical distancing.

    The mandatory 14-day quarantine for people entering Idaho would be lifted during this time. And non-essential travel will be permitted to places that are not known to be having ongoing transmission.

  • Stage 4, which the governor hopes to start June 13, could see bars, nightclubs, gyms, theaters and other venues opened. Gatherings of more than 50 people will be allowed, as long as precautions are in place. Work-from-home recommendations will be lifted and visits to retirement communities will be allowed to resume.

Little said that a significant increase in cases at some point along the way could derail the plan.

“That means: Continue to stay home as much as you can, keep a safe social distance between you and others, wear protective face coverings in public and wash your hands,” he said.

Little added that he couldn’t condone the owners of a Nampa bar and Middleton gym who have said they will reopen in violation of his stay-at-home order.

“It’s not fair to competitors. It’s not fair to the rest of the citizens of Idaho that are making these sacrifices,” he said, adding that he trusted peer pressure would be the cure.

IDAHO SEES NEARLY THREE DOZEN MORE CASES

Idaho gained 34 new confirmed cases of coronavirus Thursday, bringing its total to 1,836. Blaine gained just one new case bringing its total to 485. No new deaths were reported.

CRUSH THE CURVE STARTS TESTING

Crush the Curve Idaho announced Wednesday that it had tested 1,946 patients for antibodies in its first two days of antibody and COVID-19 testing in the Treasure Valley. Thirty-four, or 1.75 percent of the antibody tests came back positive.

Crush the Curve also tested 1,598 patients for coronavirus. Forty-nine, or 3.1 percent were positive.

The tests were run through the University of Washington’s virology lab. They had a sensitivity of 100 percent, meaning they can pick up the smallest traces of the virus. They had a specificity of 99.6 percent when it came to their ability to rule out the presence of COVID-19 antibodies.

Crush the Curve plans to set up testing sites in Blaine County, as well as Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Lewiston and Post Falls.

The cost--about $100--is ambiguous as the organization is currently billing people’s insurance companies, hoping that some if not all of the test’s costs will be covered. Those behind Crush the Curve have, however, said they hope they can help cover the costs for those who otherwise couldn’t afford the test, thanks to donations they’ve received.

AMMON BUNDY PROTESTS TRESPASSING CITATION

Ammon Bundy, who led the armed militia occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refugee in 2016, led protestors Wednesday in gathering outside the home of a Meridian police officer they claimed unlawfully cited an anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist earlier that day.

The Meridian woman was cited for refusing to leave a playground that had been closed to stop the spread of coronavirus that could linger on playground equipment.

Video posted on Facebook showed police asked her multiple times to leave.

LOTS OF ANTIBODIES

New York test of 3,000 people found 14 percent had antibodies, which would suggest 2.7 million of about 20 million New Yorkers were infected, according to Reuters. New York City has 8.4 million people.

DRONES HONE IN ON TEMPERATURES

The state of Connecticut is trying out drones to check temperature in people.

EPIDEMIC TAXIS

Taiwan is providing epidemic taxis that take those arriving at the airport from another country to a hotel to quarantine for 14 days. The taxis are used only for that purpose and are disinfected after every use. The drivers are paid $116 a day, even if they don’t transport a single passenger so that they are not tempted to take other passengers for the money.

The country’s restaurants are taping over every other chair at restaurants to achieve physical distancing as they begin reopening.

CORONAVIRUS SPREAD

Even as we learn that the first known deaths of Americans to COVID-19 may have occurred in California as early as Feb. 6, scientists have determined that cases of coronavirus had popped up in Chicago, Phoenix and Los Angeles by mid-January, according to the New York Times.

There were at least 600 infections in cities like San Francisco and New York by mid-February and as many as 28,000 hidden cases in the United States by March 1, according to a study by Northeastern University.

Researchers say the strain that came with a 35-year-old man who landed at Seattle on Jan. 15 after visiting his family in Wuhan, China, has been one of the most potent of all the European and other variations that have emerged around the States.

SNORKELS IN THE ER

A Utah company—Wildhorn Outfitters--is converting snorkel masks to N95 masks by taking the tube off and sliding a plastic 3D adapter over the space where the tube was, along with a filter.

AIR CONDITIONING TRACED TO OUTBREAK

Researchers in China now believe that air conditioning inside one restaurant may have played a part in spreading COVID-19 droplets from family at one table towards a family at another. Only those sitting in the path of the air condition became sick, says a report from the Centers for Disease Control.


 

 

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