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Idaho fails Stage 4 of coronavirus recovery for 5th time. Hospitalizations remain too high


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BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced Friday the state will stay in Stage 4 of the Idaho Rebounds plan — setting up a sixth attempt at the final stage of his coronavirus recovery plan.

Though cases continue to roll in and hospitals still report dozens of people with the virus are in their care, Idaho has shown progress in recent weeks. The metric that stopped Idaho from exiting Stage 4 this time was the number of new hospital admissions with COVID-19.

The governor held a press conference at the Idaho Foodbank to announce his decision, as well as the approval of funding for the food bank, the Idaho Statesman reports.

Little also announced the approval of $2.56 million in CARES Act funding to go toward the Idaho Foodbank and its partners in all of Idaho’s 44 counties. The governor noted that almost half of the Idaho Foodbank’s partners are schools where food programs and pantries feed children during both the school week and on weekends.

“Many Idahoans have experienced a job loss or loss in income since the spring, making it harder to afford the most basic human needs,” Little said. “As a result, more and more Idaho families are turning to their local food banks and food assistance programs during the coronavirus pandemic.”

While most of Idaho will stay in Stage 4, Ada County is still in Stage 3, a move made by Central District Health.

According to the latest testing data from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, last week’s positive test rate is down to 9.2% for Aug. 9-15. That number is likely to change over time, as sometimes tests take several days if not weeks to add. However, this the first time since June the state has seen a positive test rate under 10%.

On Thursday, Idaho’s seven health districts reported 375 new coronavirus cases around the state, as well as seven new deaths.

Earlier this week, Little officially called for a special legislative session to begin Monday in Boise. The Legislature will deal with two main topics: the coronavirus pandemic and the November election.

The three bills posed by Little during the session — two regarding the election and the other on liability reforms for handling the coronavirus — were outlined in the governor’s proclamation, which was made public on Wednesday.