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Idaho Governor Brad Little Rolls Out Latest Actions to Further Prepare Idaho for Coronavirus, Ease Burdens on Citizens

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(Press Release, March 23, 2020)

Governor Brad Little (Official Photo)

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little signed two proclamations today – one lifting restrictions in 125 administrative rules to increase healthcare provider capacity and reduce barriers to healthcare access and another extending the state income tax filing and payment deadline to June 15, 2020.

“Last week, I directed all state agencies to review their administrative rules to identify opportunities to assist in the coronavirus response while maintaining public safety,” Governor Little said. “Our valuable public servants in Idaho state government met the task and within a week, they identified more than 125 rules we can waive in order to more quickly, efficiently, and safely respond to our declared emergency.”

The waivers will increase the capacity of Idaho’s healthcare system by broadening the use of telehealth and removing barriers on out-of-state providers treating Idaho patients through telehealth technology. They streamline the licensure of nurses and physicians, allowing inactive or retired providers to come back into the profession more quickly and easily. They also remove restrictions so that physician assistants can be fully engaged as part of the medical team.

The waivers also enhance the care for Idaho patients by ensuring each Idahoan can access their chronic medications – such as those for diabetes — by allowing emergency refill of up to 90 days for existing medications. Also, Medicaid has suspended co-pay requirements to alleviate financial barriers for patients during this emergency.

In addition, Idaho citizens and businesses now have until June 15, 2020, to file their state income taxes and make any state income tax payments and apply for the Property Tax Reduction, Property Tax Deferral, and 100% Service-connected Disabled Veteran Benefit programs.

“As the coronavirus situation progresses in our state, I want to reassure Idahoans that we continue to take all steps necessary at this time to protect our citizens and preserve capacity in our healthcare system,” Governor Little said. “Our goal is to slow the spread of coronavirus. I’m in daily contact with our public health experts and epidemiologists, who are providing me guidance on the actions that are necessary at this time. We are committed to making decisions based on science.”

“Idaho is an expansive, geographically diverse state,” Governor Little added. “Science – and common sense – tell us that the planning and response efforts in one part of the state may not be the best approach in another part of the state.”

Governor Little emphasized the actions that Idahoans need to take right now:

 

The elderly and health-compromised need to take extra precautions and STAY HOME if you can.

The family, friends and caretakers of the elderly and health-compromised need to take extra precautions around these individuals and limit in-person contact if possible.

STAY HOME if you are sick.

If you have traveled to a place with high virus activity or been around someone with known exposure, STAY HOME or self-isolate for 14 days.

Cover your coughs and sneezes. Wash your hands frequently.

Follow social distancing practices and avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people.

“This is a very challenging and uncertain time, but together we will get through it. I want to thank everyone for doing their part to slow the spread of coronavirus. I have been encouraged by the good will and strength of our citizens,” Governor Little said.

View today’s proclamations here: https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/governors-working-group/

 

1600 Daily: Americans Need Help. Democrats Must Stop Blocking It.

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(Press Release, March 23, 2020)

1600 Daily, a daily summary of news, events, and updates, issued the following statement on the Democrats blocking the coronavirus relief bill:

Americans need help.  Democrats must stop blocking it.

President Trump is marshalling every resource at America’s disposal to fight against the global Coronavirus pandemic. He’s grateful to our nation’s local leaders, doctors, nurses, law enforcement, and first responders who are waging this battle on the ground.

They need all the help they can get—and so do American workers and businesses. Every American family deserves immediate relief and certainty in this difficult time.

President Trump told Congress to send him a bill that protects our economy, your job, your retirement savings, and your family’s future from this global pandemic.

Democrats are blocking it. Their donor wish list comes before helping you.

Senate Republicans are ready to send a relief bill to the President’s desk. Instead of joining them, Democrats voted it down. Their leaders are demanding a litany of partisan line items that have nothing to do with fighting the Coronavirus or saving our economy.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer should have to answer to every American: Why have they prioritized these partisan issues over help for working families of every background?

  • Audits of election results (yes, seriously)
  • Airline carbon emissions
  • Corporate diversity requirements
  • Collective bargaining for Federal workers
  • Expansion of wind/solar credits

And the list goes on and on—for 1,119 pages in Speaker Pelosi’s bill, to be exact.

With these demands, Democrats in Congress aren’t trying to rescue our country. They aren’t trying to rescue our economy. They’re trying to rescue their partisan agenda—and they’re willing to hold America hostage to do it.

As one senior Democrat reportedly put it: This relief bill is “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

Now is no time for partisan politics or to exploit a serious crisis for political gain. Now is the time to finish good-faith negotiations that deliver economic and healthcare support to working Americans.

President Trump and other leaders have asked every American to do their part to help slow the spread of Coronavirus by staying home and social distancing. The American people have selflessly heeded that call. As our citizens step up and do their part, it’s time for career politicians in Washington to do the same. No more delays.

The clock is ticking. The hour for action is here. Our country deserves it.

 

Closed, But Still Serving: Senior Activity Center Begins Curbside Lunch Service Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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Pocatello Senior Activity Center providing free lunch pickup service for seniors.

(Press Release, March 23, 2020)

The building may be closed, but the staff at Pocatello’s Senior Activity Center (Center) is continuing to serve local seniors.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, Center staff will begin serving lunch meals from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The Center issued the following instructions today to local seniors via email:

“Enter on the West side (behind Idaho Department of Labor), do not get out of your car. Roll down your window and a meal will be given to you through your car window.  Please remember no admittance to the building will be allowed.

If you are 60 and older the meal is free, donations are kindly accepted.

If you are under 60 the meal is $5.00 plus tax.

Curbside meals will be Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 AM -1:00 PM.  To check out the lunch menu go to http://www.pocatelloseniorcenter.com/ and go to our Facebook page at Pocatello Senior Activity Center to like our page and follow us for senior information.

Questions call the Center. Be safe!

Best regards,

Marty Riedle
Senior Activity Center”

 

Guest Column: Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Matt Hunter on Supporting Our Community

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by Matt Hunter, President/CEO, Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce

Matt Hunter, President/CEO, Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce (Photo Credit: Chamber Website)

In these tough times it so important that we find ways to support our fellow community members and businesses.  If you know of people that need help shopping for groceries or picking up their medication try and find a way to help them, maybe through your church or maybe you can do it yourself.  If you know of people that are unable to leave their homes give them a call every once in a while just to see how they are doing.  We need to look out for each other.

There are many ways that we can support the business community, also.  Think about your favorite restaurant that I can guarantee is struggling right now.  Many of the restaurants are offering curbside pick up or delivery that you can use to support them.  You could also consider buying a gift card from your favorite restaurant, coffee shop or retailer that you know you will use in the future.  Many of our local businesses also sell online so you can support them in that way.  We need these businesses to survive for the future of our community so please find a way to help them out.

The Chamber staff is here to help in any way that we can.  Please feel free to reach out to us by calling 208-233-1525.

Here are a few more updates from our area:

1. The State of Idaho has been approved for Businesses to apply for SBA Disaster Assistance.  For more information, visit: https://commerce.idaho.gov/.

There are also a few people that you can reach out to if you have questions:

Small Business Development Center: Ann Swanson: swanann@isu.edu or Claudia Allen: alleclau@isu.edu

Eastern Idaho Development Corp: Samantha Damron: damrsama@isu.edu

2. The Idaho Food Bank Needs Volunteers: They request that you sign up to volunteer using idahofoodbank.volunteerhub.com. By using this they can ensure that they don’t have too many people helping at any one time and they can keep people separated.

3. COVID-19 Share the Facts Info Sheet – see here:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/share-facts-h.pdf

Be Safe

Matt

CDC: People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness

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(Press Release, March 22, 2020)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted the following update related to COVID-19 on the CDC website:

People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness

COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:

People aged 65 years and older

People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

Other high-risk conditions could include:

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have heart disease with complications
  • People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment
  • People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [(BM]I)≥40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk

People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk

Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.

 

SIPH – Two Cases of COVID-19 Reported in Bannock County

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(Press Release, March 23, 2020)

Below is a news release from Southeastern Idaho Public Health:

Southeastern Idaho Public Health has confirmed two cases of COVID-19 in Bannock County. This brings the total to three case in southeastern Idaho, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Idaho to 49.

The patients are males in their 30s from Bannock County, who both had a history of travel. They are both at home recovering. The investigation is in its primary stages.

“Protecting and preserving the health and safety of our residents is at the very core of what we do,” said Maggie Mann, SIPH District Director. “We are calling on each of you to follow public health guidance to help protect their families and prevent the virus from spreading. We must all do our part to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Prevention methods include:

• If you are sick, limit contact with others.
• Avoiding people who are sick.
• Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs using a disinfecting solution.

If you believe you have been exposed, make sure to self-isolate. If you need medical attention, please call your healthcare provider in advance of a visit to discuss your symptoms and next steps. Public health does not do any testing for COVID-19 or store testing kits. SIPH’s focus is on slowing the spread of COVID-19, to ensure the protection of our community.

As a reminder, it is still cold and flu season, and you do not need to seek medical attention for a mild respiratory illness such as a cold. However, if you have had close contact with a person with known COVID-19 or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread and you develop fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider and ask for instructions about how to seek care. They may order appropriate testing, and samples will be sent to the state lab or to a private lab as needed.

At this time, SIPH does not recommend testing of people who do not have symptoms. Because of the limited number of tests across the nation, there is a need to preserve them for the sickest and those with the highest risk of complications from an infection.

SIPH has opened a call center to field questions from the community and will be open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can reach the hotline at
(208) 234-5875.

 

Pocatello: Zoo Idaho Science Talk and ‘Run With The Big Dogs’ Events for April Have Been Cancelled

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(Press Release, March 23, 2020)

Two events coming up in April in the City of Pocatello have been cancelled.

Zoo Idaho has cancelled the Science Talk that had been scheduled for April 2, 2020.

Run With the Big Dogs, a fundraising event for homeless animals that had been scheduled for April 25, 2020, has been cancelled.

Check in with the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer for the latest news.  Like and follow us on Facebook to get notification when new stories appear.

 

Idaho Governor Brad Little to Host Press Conference on COVID-19, Monday, March 23, at 4 p.m. MST

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(Press Release, March 23, 2020)

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little will host a press conference Monday, March 23, 2020, at 4 p.m. in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office to update Idahoans on the proactive measures the State is taking to help citizens. Credentialed members of the media only, please.

The press conference will be streamed to the public through Idaho Public Television at:

https://www.idahoptv.org/shows/idahoinsession/governor/%20

 

Teaching From Home: Coronavirus is Opportunity to Teach Government and Economics

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Teaching From Home

Teaching Government and Economics

by: John Crowder

John Crowder, Owner of Crowder Education in Pocatello, Idaho

The fight against the coronavirus has been very disruptive.  People are out of work or working from home.  Some are confined to their homes.  Public events, gatherings, and activities have been cancelled.  Many children are out of school early…in some cases school is over for the year.

Yet, in spite of the difficulties we are facing in this time of crisis, there are also opportunities.  One of these is the chance to explore new ways to enhance your children’s education.  We are living through an experience that has major implications for government policies, particularly as they influence the economy.  What better time to have your students learn about government and economics, in theory and practice?

 

Government and economics are typically taught in the junior and senior high school years.  Economics, especially, is not a course that many students look forward to, because of the seemingly dry nature of the subject matter.  Yet, a knowledge of these subjects is critical to our prosperity as a nation.  As future voters, our students will make choices that will lead to greater prosperity and freedom, or a diminution of both.

For this reason, I encourage you to view, and have your older children view, the videos that are available on the Stossel in the Classroom website.  John Stossel routinely argues against the conventional wisdom and emotional reactions that are so prevalent in media soundbites.

Help your children learn to thoughtfully analyze government and economic policies.  View the Stossel in the Classroom videos, and then discuss the ideas with your students.  Help your children become the thinking leaders of the future.

You can learn more by visiting: https://stosselintheclassroom.org/

 

 

 

Idaho Congressmen Mike Simpson, Russ Fulcher, Join Pacific Northwest Colleagues Requesting more Ventilators for Region; Risch and Crapo Support Request

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(Press Release, March 20, 2020)

U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson (ID-2nd Dist.)

Idaho Congressmen Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher joined Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) along with 15 other members of Congress from the Pacific Northwest Region sending Vice President Pence a joint letter expressing the great need for ventilators for the region. The most recent data from HHS and the American Association for Respiratory Care found that Washington and Oregon only have 13 ventilators per 100,000 people and Idaho only has 12 ventilators per 100,000. Comparatively the state median number of ventilators per 100,000 people is 20.5. Therefore, the Pacific Northwest Region needs more ventilators. The request comes following DOD announcing 2,000 additional ventilators being made available to HHS.

In part, the letter reads, “Unfortunately, we fear that the existing availability of ventilators may prove to not be enough. According to an analysis published in Health Affairs projected that a possible 20.5 million Americans could require hospitalization due to COVID-19 and that that if the infection curve is not flattened and the pandemic peaks over 6 months there would be a needs gap of 295,350 ICU beds. We urge the White House to convene every ventilator manufacturer with the purpose of developing a collective national manufacturing goal to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.”

“The White House Coronavirus Task Force has been incredibly responsive to our requests and I believe they are using all available resources to help the American people,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “We’ve reached out for additional ventilators for our states, as we are in dire need for more devices.”

U.S. Congressman Russ Fulcher (ID-1st Dist.)

“Proud to sign on to a letter with my fellow members from the Pacific Northwest to request more ventilators to our region. Our letter points out that Idaho, Oregon, and Washington hospitals have reported a shortage of ventilators,” said Congressman Russ Fulcher. “We’re asking that priority go to those states where the shortage is most acute. Ventilators assist or replace respiratory functions, getting oxygen into the blood for vital organs. They are a major supportive treatment for patients in the critical stage of COVID-19.”

“I thank Representatives Simpson and Fulcher for their leadership in the House on efforts give health care providers access to ventilators necessary to care for COVID-19 patients,” said Senator Mike Crapo. “I am continuing to work with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure health care systems have all of the resources they need to care for COVID-19 patients and to further reduce the virus’ spread across the country.”

“Ventilators are a critical lifeline for people suffering from serious respiratory failure. Under the dire circumstances presented to us by the COVID-19 outbreak, it is essential that we get ventilators to Idaho health care providers as rapidly as possible,” said Senator James Risch. “I applaud Representatives Simpson and Fulcher leadership on this issue and look forward to supporting their efforts in the Senate.”

Full text of the letter follows and to view a letter with signatures please click here:

https://delbene.house.gov/uploadedfiles/pnw_ventilator_prioritization-_signed.pdf