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Idaho is making progress in COVID-19 fight — but it has failed Stage 4 for sixth time


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BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Thursday declared the state will stay in Stage 4 of his reopening plan for the seventh time, extending the stage for another two weeks.

Little said the state’s hangup was on hospital admissions, which have been trending downward, but are still too high.

Idaho’s rate of new coronavirus cases was at 299 per day over the past seven days. That number was as high as 568.9 on July 19 but was 39.4 on June 1.

The rate of tests that have come back positive has dropped to about 8%, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. That’s considerably lower than it’s been for much of the summer but still above the state’s 5% goal.

“Statewide our numbers and metrics are looking pretty good,” Little said. “In fact, even in many of the hot spots we are seeing encouraging trends. But that is not a reason to let our guard down. As we approach fall, the opportunity for community spread will increase and we need to ramp up our personal actions.”

He also emphasized the need for Idahoans to get flu shots sooner rather than later to help free up health care resources.

The governor originally placed Idaho in Stage 4 of his Idaho Rebounds plan on June 13. However, the state has failed to meet the criteria to exit the plan during each of six two-week segments. The state has struggled in particular with the number of hospitalizations and infections to health care workers.