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Assisted living facility resident is eastern Idaho’s third COVID-19 death

Coronavirus

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BLACKFOOT — A resident of a Blackfoot assisted living facility has died as a result of symptoms from the novel coronavirus.

The man, who is in his 80s, was a resident of the Willows Retirement and Assisted Living Facility, where at least one staff member has also tested positive for COVID-19. Southeastern Idaho Public Health reports the man also had underlying health conditions that were a contributing factor in the death.

Seniors or people with weaker immune systems are more susceptible to the virus. In Idaho, nearly all of the 93 COVID-19 deaths have been among people above 60 years old.

The man, who has not been identified, is the third death to occur in eastern Idaho. Last month, a man in his 60s died in Bannock County, and a woman in her 80s died in Bonneville County.

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Eastern Idaho has seen 332 confirmed and 101 probable cases of COVID-19 since mid-March. However, most of these people have recovered from the virus. As of Thursday evening, only 126 people are being actively monitored by Eastern Idaho Public Health or SIPH.

A case is considered probable if a person has not been tested; or a test is pending, and the person has all the symptoms of COVID-19, has come into direct contact with an infected person and developed symptoms within the expected time frame.

COVID-19 has an extremely high recovery rate, and the vast majority of people who catch the virus will recover at home with no problems. So far, only 350 COVID-19 patients have had to be hospitalized in the entire state. Some of those cases were very severe and involved hospital stays of more than 50 days, according to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and Idaho Falls Community Hospital officials.

SIPH officials say Willows staff is working with the district on testing and guidance at the facility.

“My heart is with the family, friends and neighbors who are grieving,” said Maggie Mann, SIPH District Director. “This loss is deeply felt by our entire community. Now more than ever, each of us must do our part to prevent the spread of this virus. We all must do what we can to keep each other safe.”

SIPH urges all residents to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes practicing physical distancing at all times, wearing cloth face coverings in public places, practicing good hand hygiene and isolating immediately if you show symptoms of COVID-19.

SIPH has a call center to field questions from the community and is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can reach the hotline at (208) 234-5875.

For Idaho-specific information about the novel coronavirus, visit https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/.

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