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Low number of coronavirus cases lets local medical community take a breather

Crush the Curve Idaho
Coronavirus cases remain low in Idaho, giving health care workers a chance to catch their breath.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - As U.S. coronavirus cases surpass a million, Idaho is still sitting below 2,500. 

In areas like southeastern Idaho, where there are fewer than 20 confirmed cases, people like Portneuf Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer, Daniel Snell, are happily surprised by the numbers.

“If you had asked me a month ago that at the first part of May we’d only have eight cases, I’d have gladly taken that and I would have said you’re crazy,” Snell said. 

As of Wednesday, there were 15 confirmed cases in the southeastern part of the state, with eight cases in Bannock County. 

“I really think it goes to show how effective the people have been at the mediation effort,” Snell said. “When we had our first case happen, we thought we were two weeks from being really hit hard.”

Recently, Crush the Curve antibody testing centers have opened around the state. Snell says he’s please with how busy the Chubbuck location has been.

“It’s trickled off now, but I think in the first few days, we did well over 1,000 tests. I think were upwards around 2,000 now.”  

Snell said those numbers are an indication that people really want to be tested. 

Though we’re still at risk for a serious outbreak, even with fewer than 20 cases in the region, the weeks of social distancing and quarantining have put medical centers like Portneuf in a better position to handle whatever may come. 

“You saw all the PPE going everywhere and we were short here and testing supplies weren’t available here. And it wasn’t going to come here because we didn’t have it here, frankly,” Snell said. “So we kind of felt like we were on an island, a little bit, because by the time it did hit here, there wasn’t going to be enough supplies for anyone.” 

Now that the local medical community is able to catch their breath, snell says it feels like a weight’s been lifted. They’re ready now and the community is to thank.

“I really believe that it’s absolutely saved lives, the fact that our community has taken to heart, even though it’s been hard, has taken to heart, the changes that have been asked of them,” he said. “It’s just been very impressive to me and I’ve just been so proud of Pocatello.

Due to the existing potential for spread, Snell says people should continue to follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks in public.

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