I’ve been talking to many Idahoans about the 2019 novel coronavirus. Everyone has an opinion, and most people are doing their best to stay healthy and prevent others from getting sick.
The situation with coronavirus is changing hourly, and history will remember our reaction to it. I want history to remember that Idahoans were there for each other during this very challenging and uncertain time.
Let’s be mindful of our neighbors and thoughtful of our actions. If your neighbor is in the vulnerable population – the elderly or health-compromised – ask them how you can help. If you know a healthcare or public safety worker who needs childcare or help taking care of things at home, reach out to them. We absolutely need to maintain a strong healthcare and public safety workforce right now.
Individuals should not hoard groceries and household products. America’s supply chain is the strongest in the world. Grocery stores will stay open and will be continually restocked. Shop for your needs and no more. You are potentially harming your neighbors when you take more than you need.
I applaud Idaho businesses, which are being as flexible as possible with their workers at this time. State and federal emergency funds are available to help businesses deal with unexpected losses. I want businesses to communicate their challenges to my office so we can work through it together.
Most people will not contract coronavirus, and the majority of those who do will experience mild symptoms. Our focus is two-fold: to prevent spread of coronavirus to the elderly and health-compromised – who can get seriously ill from coronavirus – and to preserve capacity in our healthcare facilities. If we don’t all do our part to control the spread of coronavirus to the vulnerable population, then our healthcare facilities will be overrun with too many patients in a short period of time. That’s precisely what we’re trying to avoid through all these preventative steps.
Idaho and public health officials have been preparing for coronavirus since January when the first case was confirmed in the United States. Our public health system and healthcare system is strong. It is not perfect, and every day we are improving access to coronavirus testing and getting closer to a vaccine. But we are far better off here than elsewhere in the world, and we need to be grateful for that.
My fellow Idahoans, let’s keep everything in perspective and take a deep breath. Keep doing your part – listen to our public health experts about what to do and, most of all, “love thy neighbor.”
History will remember how we dealt with coronavirus. Let’s make sure future generations use it as a model for calm and compassion in a time of uncertainty.
Governor Little issues statement on news of community spread of coronavirus in Blaine County. Gov. Little issued the following statement after limited community spread was detected in Blaine County.
“My office and members of my Coronavirus Working Group are fully engaged with the South Central Public Health District, Blaine County Commissioners, and mayors in that area to ensure a strong response is in place. Our number one priority is to slow the spread of the virus in that community and outside of it. To ensure that happens, the director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare will issue an isolation order for residents in the area. We are still working on the details, and residents will still have essential services available to them, such as access to grocery stores and, of course, healthcare.
“I am firm in my commitment to making decisions in our coronavirus planning and response based on science, not fear. Every step of the way, we have made decisions based on the best information and guidance from the CDC and our nation’s leaders, and we will continue to do so.
“I urge everyone to be even more vigilant of the preventative measures to slow the spread of coronavirus. And most of all, I continue to urge Idahoans to take care of each other. Be mindful of our actions. Find someone you can help. We will get through this together.”
Idaho adopts latest federal guidance to prevent coronavirus spread. Gov. Brad Little has announced that Idaho is adopting the latest guidance from the White House and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to slow the spread of coronavirus. Counties with confirmed cases of coronavirus include Ada, Blaine, Madison and Teton. Through the end of March, Idahoans are encouraged to:
- Do not visit nursing homes, retirement homes, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance, but still to find ways to connect with loved ones in these facilities, such as phone, text, Facetime, and others
- Avoid discretionary travel
- Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people
- Continue to practice good hygiene
- Work from home whenever possible – UNLESS you work in a critical infrastructure industry, such as healthcare, medicine and food supply
- Take advantage of the many drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food. Businesses are stepping up to make these options even more available than before, in order to serve customers and keep people working.
“These are recommendations to keep you and your neighbors healthy,” Little said. “If you are in the category of our vulnerable population – the elderly or health-compromised – stay home and away from other people for the next few weeks. Idahoans need to be there for each other and reach out to neighbors and family members who need support.”
The governor encourages school districts to follow the latest CDC guidelines for school closures when considering whether to close schools for a period of time.
“I am not mandating categorical closures of schools and other establishments at this time. Local leaders and operators of those facilities will make their own judgment calls about whether to do that,” Governor Little added. “Idaho is a very diverse and expansive state. A solution for one area might not be the solution for another part of the state.”
The official source of information and updates on coronavirus in Idaho is https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/.