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Gov. Brad Little announces 23 coronavirus cases during press conference


BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Blaine County has recorded 16 positive tests for coronavirus, state officials announced late Thursday afternoon.

The increase from five previous announced positives is the result of the state’s first “community spread” of the virus, meaning the virus was transmitted from one person in the community to another, rather than from travel to or a visitor from an already-infected area.

Of the 16 positive tests in Blaine County, at least two are healthcare providers who are in quarantine, Gov. Brad Little said. The state has reported 23 coronavirus cases, including three in Ada County. Six individuals are male: one in his 30’s, four in their 40’s, and one in his 50’s. Six individuals are female: one under 20 years old, two in their 30’s, two in their 50’s, and one in her 70’s.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare will issue a mandatory isolation order for residents of Blaine County, Little said.

“We are still working on the details, and the residents will still have access to essential services such as access to grocery stores, and of course, healthcare,” Little said. “It would be similar to the guidance I gave prior to community spread. Except now it is mandatory.”

Little explained that if anyone shows any symptoms, they need to isolate themselves.

“This is the first order. We want to make sure we get it right,” Little said.

As Idaho senators made their farewell speeches and honored retiring senators on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon as the Legislature readies to adjourn for the year, Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, stood up and tearfully announced something personal.

“In my community, we have doctors who are contaminated now,” she told her fellow senators. “This is about self-quarantining and being safe around your families. Please take this seriously.”

Stennett provided some perspective on the coming restrictions in her county.

“This is not going to restrict mobilities,” she said. “Roads aren’t going to be closed and people are going to be able to get essential services and hospitals will still be open. They probably won’t shut down the airport because we’re going to need to bring essential supplies in and make sure that people have mobility.”

South Central Public Health District, which includes Blaine County, urged residents to stay home.

“It no longer matters where it started, this virus is now in our community. It is important that we take precautions to slow the spread and protect the most vulnerable among us,” said Logan Hudson, SCPHD public health division administrator, in a news release. “We urge residents to follow public health recommendations to stay home as much as possible to help protect themselves and their communities.”

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