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Idaho Senate OKs money to fight coronavirus outbreak

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Arturo Pardavila III / CC BY 2.0 License Link

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho lawmakers moved quickly Wednesday to bolster the state's ability to test for the new coronavirus.

The Senate voted 35-0 to approve a request from Republican Gov. Brad Little for $2 million to go into an emergency fund for use around the state. The legislation now goes to the House.

Some of the money will be used by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to test for the virus.

State officials say 67 people have so far been tested, but no one has been positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

"While the individual risk for coronavirus in Idaho is still low, the situation is rapidly evolving," Republican Sen. Steve Bair told senators. "We do expect confirmed cases in Idaho at some point."

Bair said Little told lawmakers in a letter that he received confirmation that Idaho will receive $4 million from the federal government specifically for the coronavirus. However, Bair said, the at money is more than a month away and possibly two months.

He said that Health and Welfare during that time could run out of money to continue testing.

Also on Wednesday, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announced a ban on events of more than 250 people in the Seattle area.

Coronavirus Coverage / Health / Idaho / Idaho Politics / Local News / Politics

Associated Press

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