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Coronavirus Coverage

5 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Idaho as of Saturday

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DRIGGS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, in conjunction with the affected local public health districts, is announcing an additional three cases of novel coronavirus infection in Idaho. This brings the total to five in the state.

Boise State University will move instruction for more than 30,000 students online to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The rest of Idaho’s public higher education institutions will follow suit by April 1.

The Idaho Statesman reports the state Board of Education voted unanimously to support presidents’ efforts to shift coursework online amid the growing pandemic.

Eastern Idaho Public Health (EIPH) and Teton Valley Health have confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in Teton County.

EIPH District Director Geri Rackow said the woman under the age of 60 contracted the virus due to contact with a confirmed case in a “neighboring state."

James Corbett, a Community Health Administrator with EIPH, joined Rackow at a press conference in Driggs Saturday. He said the Teton County woman is home in good spirits and recovering from mild symptoms. She did not require hospitalization.

“When she made aware of her contact with the positive case from a neighboring state, she appropriately contacted her healthcare provider to discuss the need for testing," said Corbett. This happened Thursday. Corbett said the woman remained at home since.

They received the test results from the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories at 3 p.m. Saturday. Investigators are looking into the patient’s travel history. Epidemiologists with EIPH will determine reasonable risk criteria for locations visited by the patient and any close contacts that were possibly exposed. Anyone who may have been exposed in this case are expected to get guidance from health offices and be monitored closely for symptoms.

Additional case-specific information about this patient is confidential and will not be released. 

Central District Health has a second confirmed case of COVID-19 in a male patient from Ada County in his 50s. There were no identified underlying medical issues. He is recovering well in his home under isolation and was not hospitalized. The patient indicated travel-related acquisition and is presumed to have the same shared risk exposure to the first case identified in Ada County.

South Central Public Health has a second confirmed case in a female patient over the age of 70. She is hospitalized and recovering. At this time, the point of transmission is still under investigation. The health district earlier today announced its first positive in a female over the age of 50 who is recovering at home from mild symptoms.

Two previous cases were reported earlier. The first case in Idaho was confirmed in southwest Idaho in a patient over the age of 50. This person recently returned from a conference in New York City.

The second previous case was a female patient in Blaine County over the age of 70. She is said to be hospitalized and recovering. The point of transmission is still under investigation.

ORIGINAL STORY: South Central Public Health District (SCPHD) and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) announced the confirmation of a positive case in south-central Idaho of novel Coronavirus in a female over the age of 50. Officials say this is the first case in this area. Gov. Brad Little announced the state’s first case during a joint press conference on Friday. That patient is in Southwest Idaho.

Officials said the Blaine County patient is at home recovering from mild symptoms and did not need to be hospitalized. Investigators found she self-isolated as soon as she began showing symptoms. Her physician’s office was prepared and wearing proper protective gear when the woman was evaluated. Her movement history is being closely evaluated.

“This virus is spread across the globe now,” said Melody Bowyer, SCPHD Director. “We knew it would reach our corner of the world, and we took that time to prepare our investigation team. They are now working tirelessly to identify who might have been exposed and make sure they are evaluated.”

A press release from the SCPHD said additional case-specific information about this case is confidential and will not be released.

It goes on to say Idaho Public Health officials are monitoring the rapidly changing novel coronavirus situation very closely, domestically and internationally. They said they are working with the Governor’s Office and other state agencies including the Idaho Office of Emergency Management, local public health districts, and healthcare providers around the state, as well as CDC and other states.

Health officials would like to remind everyone that when someone begins showing symptoms for a contagious disease, public health’s role is to monitor and respond to positive test samples. At that point, an investigation team is deployed to trace the individual’s movements to identify other people who may have been exposed. Public health does not do any testing for COVID-19 or store testing kits.

“We have been preparing for this since January when the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the United States. We have taken many proactive steps, and we are in a good position to respond,” said Idaho Gov. Brad Little. “Our focus is on slowing the spread of coronavirus to protect vulnerable individuals and preserve capacity in our healthcare facilities. We are committed to working with our partners to provide the public with timely, accurate information about what individuals can do to help slow the spread of coronavirus.”

If Idahoans have these symptoms and they become severe, they should call a healthcare provider to discuss their options. 

“We expect that we will have multiple cases in Idaho, but we do not want this to be cause for alarm. We encourage everyone to continue to take precautionary measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state,” said Elke Shaw-Tulloch, administrator for the Division of Public Health. “If you believe you have been exposed, make sure to self-isolate. If you need medical attention, please call your healthcare provider in advance of a visit to discuss your symptoms and the next steps. Everyone doing their part to limit exposures and spread will help keep us all safe.”

Precautionary measures include:

  • Washing your hands regularly and well
  • Staying home when you are sick
  • Coughing/sneezing into a tissue and throwing it away immediately
  • Practicing social distancing- keeping six feet between yourself and others
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