(Press Release, March 4, 2020)
Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little announced today the creation of a new team to assist in Idaho’s preparation for the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Governor Little and public health officials in Idaho have been monitoring and preparing for the coronavirus situation since January when the first case in the United States was confirmed.
The Governor’s new Coronavirus Working Group will support Idaho’s public health agencies and increase coordination and communication around the multiple aspects of the planning and response effort.
“While the individual risk for coronavirus in Idaho is still low, the situation is rapidly evolving and we do expect confirmed cases in Idaho at some point,” Governor Little said during a press conference today with public health officials. “Idaho is prepared, and we all must do our part to prevent the spread of coronavirus by washing your hands frequently, staying home if you are sick, and avoiding others who are sick.”
He also unveiled a new web site – https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ – where the public can find the latest information on Idaho’s situation and the Governor’s new Coronavirus Working Group, resources to learn more about the disease, and contact information for local public health districts, which are the best sources to answer to citizens’ questions.
In addition, Governor Little said he is actively working with legislative leaders to make state funds available to aid in the response effort if it is needed.
Key facts about coronavirus in Idaho at this time:
Health officials are focused on slowing the spread of coronavirus to reduce the impact on the healthcare system.
Current data suggests most healthy adults and children will not get extremely ill from coronavirus, but just like the flu it can be harmful or deadly to older populations and those with underlying health conditions.
80 percent of infected individuals experience mild symptoms similar to the cold or flu and a portion are asymptomatic, reinforcing the need to ramp up personal hygiene to prevent spread.
Health officials are not recommending the cancellation of travel plans or events at this time, but individuals may choose to change plans based on their own comfort level and needs.
Idaho is fortunate to have a state lab that is fully capable of testing for coronavirus, and privately-run facilities may begin testing soon. Test kits are limited but more resources are expected to arrive from the federal government by the end of the week.