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Gov. Little talks strategies during statewide teleconference

Idaho Governor Brad Little
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Idaho Governor Brad Little

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - We are getting more answers into the statewide response to the growing pandemic.

Governor Little and Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen joined AARP Idaho for a telephone town hall Tuesday afternoon. You can listen below.

In it, the governor spoke about increased health care provider capacity.

He says they are working on strategies to keep medical professionals in the system and try to get new ones.

One priority for the governor is providing child care services to those people so that they can stay on the front lines.

"We want everyone that's qualified as a nurse, doctor, physician's assistant to help our healthcare system as it gets stretched under this growing basically worldwide pandemic. But when we have to ramp up healthcare nurses and doctors who don't have childcare at home, that's a critical issue," Governor Little said.

During the hour-long event, many wondered why certain airports weren't shut down.

The governor says Idaho is already under a state of emergency, asking travelers to leave would go against the constitution.

They also asked what we can do to keep from being compromised.

He focused on self-quarantining and noted young people who may not realize their roles in the outbreak.

"You may be perfectly fit 20-year-old, and not feeling good and impact some other perfectly fit 20-year-old, but that 20-year-old may go home to an older person or somebody who is compromised. And that's why it's so important for us to do all we can to slow the spread is particularly if you're sick," Governor Little said.

Tests for the coronavirus are giving real answers to patients and our healthcare providers.

Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppeson joined governor brad little for a telephone town hall meeting today.

Jeppeson says he knows there isn't as much fanfare for testing as people would like, but he goes on to tell us that the state lab has increased its capacity from 15 tests a day to 160.

They have performed about a thousand tests so far at the lab alone, with encouraging results.

"Interesting to me, only 5% of those have come back positive. We are feeling really good about where we are on this curve at this point. We also have commercial lab testing that's up and running. They're a little bit longer in their turnaround time and it varies based on lab. But we are seeing only a point 4% positive test rate out of those commercial labs. So where the bandwidth for testing is not where we'd like it to be, we still feel really good that we are testing the right people and we have a very good handle on who is actually likely to have the virus. We are catching those folks as they come through," Jeppeson said.

Another teleconference town hall meeting will be held next Tuesday, March, 31 from 12 p.m to 1 p.m.

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Ariel Schroeder

Ariel Schroeder

Ariel is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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