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North Bannock firefighters offer to shop for the elderly

North Bannock fire
The firefighters of the North Bannock Fire Department have offered to pick up groceries for communities seniors.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - On Friday, Governor Brad Little confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Idaho.

Just before his announcement, Bannock County officials held a press conference to announce the establishment of an area command. At the meeting, officials urged the community to "appropriately access health care."

"If you don't have symptoms, like fever, cough, shortness of breath, we recommend that you not access your health care provider," Maggie Mann, district director for Southeastern Idaho Public Health, said."

The group also asked the community to consider their actions.

"If you’re feeling ill but have mild symptoms, we recommend that you stay home," Mann said.

Members of the senior community (60+) have been identified as high risk. Sick or not, many are trying to stay out of crowded spaces.  

Troy Bell, president and CEO of TanaBell Health Services, said they've "much less traffic” since the start of the outbreak.

All nine of their facilities statewide, including Pocatello's Quinn Meadows, have a controlled access protocol in place. Everyone entering buildings must have their temperature taken, sanitize and then answer questions provided by the CDC. 

“We’ve sent several people home today because they’ve had temperatures higher than 100 degrees," Bell said. "We’re just trying to keep it safe for all the loved ones here."

With safety in mind, the North Bannock Fire Department announced Friday that firefighters are offering to shop for those who don’t want to leave their homes.  

“They [seniors] should try to do their most to try to stay out of the shopping centers and in the grocery stores," Fire Chief J.R. Farnsworth said. "So if we can help do that, by going out and at least picking up the groceries for ‘em, we’d be happy to do that."

Farnsworth says people can call the department or reach out on Facebook and explain their needs and what they want the department to purchase. 

"I try to avoid turning anybody away. I mean, typically, if they’re calling, they’re calling for a reason," he said.

The firefighters who are volunteering to do the shopping are all volunteers for the department, too. Farnsworth said this community-driven attitude is just part of the culture he's worked to create.

"My firefighters are superstars, already, just for signing up for being a firefighter here. And the things they do for this district and for the community in itself ... these guys are willing to step out and do whatever they can to help the community," he said.

Coronavirus Coverage / Health / Idaho / Local News / Pocatello / Regional News / Top Stories
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Max Cohan

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

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