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Southeastern Idaho Public Health Announces Three Additional Cases of COVID-19 in Southeast Idaho

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(Press Release, April 27, 2020)

Southeastern Idaho Public Health (SIPH) has confirmed three additional case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in southeast Idaho.  Two in Bannock County and one in Bingham County, bringing the total number of cases to 14 in southeast Idaho (seven in Bannock County, four in Bingham County, one in Caribou County, two in Power County).  Details on the new case are listed below.  Southeastern Idaho Public Health includes eight counties (Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Butte, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida, and Power).

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• Bannock County patient is a female in her 50s. She is self-isolating at home.  This case appears to be travel-related. Contact tracing is ongoing.

• Bannock County patient is a female, 18 years of age.  She is self-isolating at home.  The case is community transmission. Contact tracing is going.

• The Bingham County patient is a female in her 40s.  She is self-isolating at home.  The investigation is ongoing.

Epidemiologists at SIPH are working to investigate possible contacts of cases.  All household members of the confirmed cases have been asked to self-isolate at home for a prescribed period of time.  If other people are found to have been exposed, health officials will provide guidance to these individuals and they will be asked to self-monitor for the development of symptoms.

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SIPH will continue to monitor the situation closely and is working with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, city and county leaders, schools, emergency management, healthcare providers, and our community at large to help prevent the spread of this virus.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19:

• Follow Governor Little’s Statewide Stay-Home Order at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/

• Stay home if you are sick.

• Avoid people who are sick.

• Practice social distancing (6ft).

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• Wash 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.

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze

• Avoid 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.

For more information, call SIPH’s call center Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (208) 234-5875.

For Idaho-specific information about the novel coronavirus, please visit https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/.

For southeast Idaho information, please visit https://www.siphidaho.org/coronavirus.php#psa or join us Monday-Friday at 11 am for Facebook Live

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City of Pocatello: Meetings Scheduled for Week of April 27 – May 1, 2020

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City of Pocatello City Hall

(Press Release, April 27, 2020)

The City of Pocatello has released the City’s meeting schedule for the week of April 27 to May 1, 2020.  Only two meetings are currently scheduled, both on Tuesday, April 28.  The details of the two meetings are as follows:


Tuesday, April 28

Police Union Negotiations

1:00 p.m., live-stream
pocatello.us/718/Live-Streaming
or on Sparklight Cable, channel 56

City Material Bid Opening

2:30 p.m., conference call
Instructions for the Public
Telephone Number: 1-646-364-1285
Participant Code: 9725891#

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Idaho Governor Brad Little’s Schedule For Week of April 27-May 1, 2020

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(Press Release, April 27, 2020)

Governor Brad Little (Official Photo)

The Office of the Governor of Idaho has released the following media advisory regarding Governor Brad Little’s schedule for the week of April 27-May 1, 2020:

Included below is information on some of the public events on Governor Brad Little’s calendar for the week of April 27-May 1.  All times local.

TUESDAY, April 28, 2020

Governor Little will host a statewide AARP telephone town hall to provide information and answer questions regarding the coronavirus in Idaho.  The hour-long conversation begins at 12 p.m.  Participants can join by dialing toll-free 866-767-0637 or register in advance by visiting https://vekeo.com/aarpidaho/.

THURSDAY, April 30, 2020

Governor Little will host a press conference regarding Idaho Rebounds: Stage 1 at 11 a.m. The conference will be streamed to the public through Idaho Public Television and online at https://www.idahoptv.org/shows/idahoinsession/governor/.

Governor Little will answer questions about COVID-19 in Idaho LIVE on Idaho Public Television at 8 p.m., airing on Idaho Public Television and online at https://www.facebook.com/idahoptv/.

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City of Pocatello: April 30 City Council Budget Development Meeting Rescheduled to May 7, 2020

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City of Pocatello City Hall

(Press Release, April 27, 2020)

The City of Pocatello has announced that the City Council Budget Development meeting originally scheduled for Thursday, April 30, has been rescheduled to Thursday, May 7, 2020.

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Guest Column: U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) on Coronavirus Aid for Agricultural Producers

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April 27, 2020

Coronavirus Aid for Agricultural Producers

by: U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

(U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, official photo)

Idaho farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers are among those continuing to work hard every day to put food on our tables–despite the personal health threat of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, and enormous strain on the agricultural sector.  The intent of this column is to help clarify some of the federal assistance available to help Idaho agricultural producers weather this storm.

Agriculture is facing tremendous disruption due to the shuttering or scaling back of restaurants, schools and other food service operations to limit the spread of COVID-19.  According to the Idaho Dairymen’s Association, about half the milk used for cheese and butter typically goes to these sectors.  With demand rapidly shrinking, Idaho dairy producers face prices far below production costs.  Live cattle prices are down about 25 percent since January, reports the American Farm Bureau Federation.  The restaurant sector also accounts for at least half of the lamb industry’s usual demand, according to the American Sheep Industry Association.  The farmed fish industry also relies heavily on restaurant and food service sectors for the majority of its sales, as reported by the University of Idaho Extension.  According to the Idaho Potato Commission, fresh potato demand at grocery and retail is way up, but food service sector demand for processed potatoes is significantly down, reflecting the slump in restaurant activity.  Other fruit and vegetable producers, including onion producers now without a market, are also among those impacted by restaurant closures, reported the Capital Press.  In addition, many producers are struggling to secure a needed workforce.

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There has been confusion as to what in Phase 3 of the emergency coronavirus response legislation, the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is accessible to farmers and ranchers.  The agriculture relief package provided in the CARES Act will likely not completely compensate for the loss and disruption experienced by producers.  Nevertheless, the intent is to help producers through this difficult time.

  • The CARES Act includes $9.5 billion to provide direct assistance to impacted agriculture producers, targeted to dairy, livestock, specialty crop and other producers supplying local food systems and farmers’ markets, restaurants and schools.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers these funds.  I joined Idaho’s Congressional Delegation, including Senator James Risch and Representatives Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher, in sending a letter and supporting documentation to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sharing the specific concerns of Idaho’s dairy, beef, onion, potato, hops, barley, aquaculture and sheep industries.  We also joined fellow Senators and Representatives in urging the USDA’s immediate release of the funds to offer relief to Idaho’s cattlemen.  I joined similar efforts requesting action to help the dairy industry survive this crisis.The CARES Act also includes $14 billion to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation.  This fund supports farm, conservation, marketing and other program assistance.
  • I continue to advocate for Idaho agriculture throughout the allocation of the direct and program funds.  The USDA indicates it would like to make purchases of milk and meat products.  This will assist with hunger relief and ease pressure on the agricultural industry.  Information about agriculture-related COVID-19 response assistance is accessible on USDA’s website, at https://www.usda.gov/coronavirus.
  • Additionally, USDA advises, “Agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers with 500 or fewer employees whose principal place of residence is in the United States are eligible” for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), administered by the Small Business Administration.  USDA’s website, https://www.usda.gov/coronavirus has agricultural-sector eligibility information.  To learn more about the PPP visit https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/assistance-for-small-businesses or https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program.  Efforts continue in order to add additional funds to this program.

  • The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, administered by the SBA, specifically excludes farming enterprises, unless it is a nursery, aquaculture, or co-op.  However, congressional pressure is mounting to make this program available to all agriculture producers.

In addition to financial support, ensuring producers have needed labor is a critical food security issue.  I have contacted Administration officials directly and joined multiple letters urging the timely and legal processing of seasonal worker visas.  This includes joining a bipartisan, bicameral letter requesting the Administration remove hurdles in order to ensure the timely processing of H-2A visa requests, which is the nation’s temporary agriculture worker program, while implementing protocols to protect public health.

I will continue to work to support Idaho producers’ steady work on all of our behalves.  As we pray for the defeat of COVID-19 and the health and safety of loved ones, those fighting it and humankind as a whole, a special prayer goes to the agriculture producers not letting up in feeding the world no matter the obstacles.

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Idaho Governor Brad Little Extends Emergency Declarations, Waives More Regulations Amid COVID-19

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(Press Release, April 24, 2020)

Idaho Governor Brad Little Extends Emergency Declarations, Waives More Regulations Amid COVID-19

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little issued two new proclamations this week – one extending his previous declarations for a disaster emergency and extreme emergency for the State of Idaho due to COVID-19 and another waiving additional regulations.

Extending the disaster emergency and extreme emergency declarations continues the activation of the Idaho Emergency Operations Plan, allows the state more flexibility to expedite contracts and purchasing of supplies, and allows the Governor to suspend certain regulations in order to protect the public.

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The regulations waived in the second proclamation are aimed at maintaining or improving access to care while keeping Idaho citizens, particularly our most vulnerable population, as safe as possible.  For example, the waivers suspend licensure requirements for out of state telehealth providers, remove financial barriers, and improve access to behavioral health services during this difficult time while keeping the patients and providers as safe as possible.

As of Thursday night, there are 1,836 cases and 54 deaths resulting from coronavirus infections in the State of Idaho.  Community spread – people contracting the virus from an unknown source within their community – now exists in many parts of the state.

All of the coronavirus-related Governor’s proclamations and announcements to date are available at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/governors-working-group/.

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Joint Statement by President Donald J. Trump and President Vladimir Putin of Russia Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Meeting on the Elbe

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Photo Credit: Aaron Kittredge

(White House Press Release, April 25, 2020)

President Donald J. Trump (White House Official Photo by Shealah Craighead)

On Saturday, April 25, 2020, the White House released the following joint statement by United States President Donald J. Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin:

April 25, 2020, marks the 75th Anniversary of the historic meeting between American and Soviet troops, who shook hands on the damaged bridge over the Elbe River. This event heralded the decisive defeat of the Nazi regime.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia (Photo Credit: Дмитрий Осипенко)

The meeting on the Elbe represented a culmination of tremendous efforts by the many countries and peoples that joined forces under the framework of the United Nations Declaration of 1942. This common struggle required enormous sacrifice by millions of soldiers, sailors, and citizens in multiple theaters of war.

We also recognize the contributions from millions of men and women on the home front, who forged vast quantities of war materials for use around the world. Workers and manufacturers played a crucial role in supplying the allied forces with the tools necessary for victory.

The “Spirit of the Elbe” is an example of how our countries can put aside differences, build trust, and cooperate in pursuit of a greater cause. As we work today to confront the most important challenges of the 21st century, we pay tribute to the valor and courage of all those who fought together to defeat fascism. Their heroic feat will never be forgotten.

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Idaho Governor Brad Little Taps Local Clinical, Laboratory, Research Experts to Create Testing Strategy Moving Forward

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(Press Release, April 24, 2020)

Idaho Governor Brad Little Taps Local Clinical, Laboratory, Research Experts to Create Testing Strategy Moving Forward

Governor Brad Little (Official Photo)

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little announced today a new public-private task force to create a COVID-19 testing strategy for the State of Idaho moving forward.

“The staged reopening of our economy can only occur with a combination of efforts, and expanded and targeted testing is a big part of our strategy,” Governor Little said.  “We are on the verge of seeing testing capacity significantly open up in Idaho and elsewhere.  Our new Testing Task Force will set criteria for when and how frequently someone should be tested and how to move toward a common reporting platform across the state.  We have a strong team of very capable local clinical and laboratory and research experts from across the state helping us navigate this crisis, and I appreciate their help.”

The Testing Task Force met for the first time Thursday.  It is co-chaired by Dr. Jim Souza, the chief medical officer for St. Luke’s Health System and Dr. Christopher Ball, director of the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories.

“We know that testing capabilities have been limited in too many areas and we are glad for the increasing capacity that is coming online in multiple areas,” Dr. Souza said.  “We know we need to reopen our economy based upon sound principles that allow progress while maintaining safety.  Testing will be a key tool to inform these decisions.  The task force will provide recommendations that serve to inform the most effective reopening actions.”

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The group will rapidly inform the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the Governor’s Coronavirus Working Group, healthcare and laboratory entities, and businesses on statewide testing for COVID-19.

In particular, the group is immediately focusing on improvements in the following areas:

  • Safe and efficient screening and testing sites for symptomatic individuals, including those with mild symptoms
  • Screening and testing locations in all regions of the state, including places that serve older individuals, rural and lower income populations, and racial and ethnic minorities
  • Robust COVID-19 testing programs for at-risk healthcare workersParticipants of the Testing Task Force include:

    Co-chairs

    Dr. Christopher Ball (Director, Idaho Bureau of Laboratories)
    Dr. Jim Souza (Chief Medical Officer, St. Luke’s Health System)

    State and Local Public Health

    Division of Public Health:
    Dr. Christine Hahn (Public Health Medical Director and State Epidemiologist)
    Dr. Kris Carter (Career Epidemiology Field Officer)
    Dr. Carolyn Bridges (Consultant)
    Elke Shaw-Tulloch (Division Administrator, State Health Official)

    Local Public Health District:
    Maggie Mann (Director, Southeastern Idaho Public Health)

    Healthcare

    Boise Veterans Administration Medical Center:
    Dr. Andrew Wilper (Chief of Staff)

    Kootenai Health:
    Dr. Karen Cabell (Chief Physician Executive)

    Saint Alphonsus Health System:
    Dr. Steven Nemerson (Chief Clinical Officer)
    Dr. Patrice Burgess (Systems Contact for Testing)

    St. Luke’s Health System:
    Dr. Matthew Burtelow (Boise Pathology Group, St. Luke’s Treasure Valley Medical Executive Committee)
    Dr. Sky Blue (infectious disease physician, Sawtooth Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases, St. Luke’s Infection Prevention Committee)

    Idaho Emergency Responders Health Center
    Dr. Rob Hilvers

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    Albertsons Corporation: Rob Geddes, Director of Pharmacy and Regulatory Affairs

    Community Organization

    Crush the Curve: Mike Boren

    The work of the task force ties into the state’s ability to meet the criteria in order to progress through the four stages of reopening that Governor Little outlined Thursday. Information is available at https://rebound.idaho.gov.

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Faith Lutheran Church Live Online Service at 10:00 Today, Sunday, April 26, 2020

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April 26, 2020

Faith Lutheran Church of Pocatello, Idaho, will be live on both YouTube and Facebook today at 10:00 a.m.

Today’s sermon, given by Pastor Kirk Triplett, is entitled, “The Presence of Christ.”  The Gospel reading for today is Luke 24: 25-35.

To join Pastor Triplett and the members of Faith Lutheran Church for their live Sunday service, click on the image, below, and follow the link to either video channel.

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Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England’s Video Blog, April 24, 2020: Parks Department

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(City of Chubbuck Video Release, April 24, 2020)

Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England’s latest video blog has been posted on the City of Chubbuck website and on the City’s YouTube channel.  This video features Bill Guinn, Chubbuck Parks Department Superintendent, with an update.

The Parks Department would like to remind and encourage residents to please use the mutt mitts located at City Parks to clean up after their pets.  Also the Parks Department is always looking for ways to work with neighborhoods to improve the functionality and pride of Chubbuck’s CommUNITY Parks, like a recent project at Mary’s Park.

To see the video, click on the link, below:

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