50 coronavirus cases in Idaho; recent Blaine County visitors told to shelter in place
Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman
Published at | Updated at
BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Idaho health officials are urging residents who’ve recently traveled to Blaine County to shelter in place after linking several local coronavirus infection diagnoses to Blaine County.
In a Sunday news release, Central District Health officials asked people who spent time in Blaine County between March 8 and March 22 to self-isolate for two weeks. The directive comes after three Ada County residents and one part-time Valley County resident were diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, and reported recent travel to Blaine County.
Sheltering in place includes staying home except to get necessary medical care. Close contact with others is discouraged.
Blaine County, a popular tourist destination home to Ketchum, Sun Valley and Hailey, has been hit hardest in Idaho, with 21 of the state’s 45 cases as of Sunday afternoon.
“While this is guidance, and not an official order, we are strongly urging any community members this applies to, to do the right thing,” said Russ Duke, district director for Boise-based Central District Health, in the news release.
Blaine County has had a shelter-in-place order in effect since Friday.
Officials said the part-time Valley County resident is a man in his 50s who tested positive in Ada County. He did not travel to Valley County during the time he was infectious, officials said. No Valley County residents had tested positive for COVID-19 by Sunday afternoon.
IDAHO TALLY RISES TO 50
Statewide, there were 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 by Sunday evening. More than 1,350 people had been tested.
Canyon County reported two additional diagnoses on Sunday, bringing the county’s total to three. The county’s first case was tied to Middleton Middle School. The individual was inside the school on March 11 and 12, though officials would not say if the person is an employee.
Another Idaho area added more cases on Sunday morning. Idaho’s Panhandle Health District confirmed three additional cases of coronavirus infection, including one in a patient under the age of 18, according to a news release.
Each of the three patients is from Kootenai County, which is home to Coeur d’Alene. That brings the total number of cases in the county to six. Officials said they’re still tracing contacts for each patient to determine how they contracted COVID-19.
The patients are a female under age 18, a male in his 30s and a female in her 30s. Each individual is self-isolating at home, health officials said.
IDAHO’S YOUNGEST PATIENT?
It’s possible the underage patient is the youngest thus far diagnosed in Idaho. Previously, the youngest age range given was for a patient in Blaine County described as “under 20.”
Idaho’s state coronavirus information on Sunday morning listed no patients under age 18, 16 patients between ages 19 and 49 and 15 patients 60 years old and older. Some of the state’s confirmed cases hadn’t yet been included in the demographics.
As of Sunday afternoon, Blaine County had the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state with 21. Ada County was next with 13 confirmed cases.
Previously, officials reported the part-time Valley County resident as an Ada County case. That was changed on the state coronavirus information website Sunday evening to reflect 13 Ada County cases and one Valley County case.
Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in six of Idaho’s seven health districts. The North Central district, which covers Latah, Clearwater, Nez Perce, Lewis and Idaho counties, has not confirmed a case.
TOURIST TOWNS ASK TRAVELERS TO STAY AWAY
Several Idaho tourist destinations have discouraged visitors in recent days, saying the risk of spreading coronavirus to full-time residents is too great.
The mayor of McCall issued a news release on Friday urging visitors to stay away until further notice, while the mayor of Crouch and officials with the city of Cascade followed suit with similar requests on Saturday.
“We have noticed that there are a lot of people coming to Crouch and the Garden Valley area from the valley,” Crouch mayor Bob Powell wrote, referring to the Treasure Valley. “This is putting a strain on our already-depleted grocery store and our locals are feeling the repercussions.”
Officials also voiced concerns over the ability of the health care infrastructure in rural Valley County to handle an influx of COVID-19 cases.
8 STEPS CDC URGES TO AVOID SPREADING CORONAVIRUS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following to avoid spreading COVID-19:
- Practice social distancing: avoid crowds, maintain at least 6 feet from others when possible.
- Decrease time in group settings when possible.
- Limit unnecessary travel.
- Consider postponing or canceling out of town vacations and travel out of state.
- Use drive through and delivery services for everyday errands where possible.
- Persons at increased risk of severe illness should consider sheltering in place. (Leave your home for “essential activities,” to work for an “essential business,” or for “essential travel.” Do not host or attend any gatherings.)
- Persons with recent travel to an area having widespread community transmission or a shelter in place order should shelter in place at home until 14 days after return.
- Create a plan for how to safely care for a household member who becomes ill.