Governor Deploys Idaho Guard, Moves State Back to Modified Stage 2
BOISE, Idaho (KLIX)-Gov. Brad Little has moved Idaho back to a modified Stage-2 of his reopening plan and will deploy 100 guardsmen in response to the rising numbers of COVID-19 infections.
Gov. Little says 100 Idaho National Guard members will be deployed to respond to the increasing number of COVID-19 infections in the state. The governor said hospitals are beginning to cancel elective surgeries and postpone other services. He said if the trend continues some hospitals will have to start turning people away from their doors and "rationing care."
Gen. Mark Garshak, head of the Idaho National Guard, said a taskforce will provide testing support, decontamination of facilities, and provide COVID-19 screening for health care facilities that need the assistance. The Guard Taskforce will respond to help health care facilities by providing personnel to relieve the burden on health care workers and hospital staff. Currently assigned Idaho Guard doctors and nurses will not be removed from their posts in this new deployment order.
Gov. Little said the biggest problem they are seeing as a source of spread of the virus is small social gatherings where people are not using masks or social distancing. He said the increase is not happening in the schools. “Half of Idaho’s population is under a local ordinance requiring masks, but we are seeing non-compliance with those local orders. Or, people are wearing their masks in public but then take them off in social settings where the virus is more likely to spread. Law enforcement can cite individuals for violating local ordinances, but law enforcement cannot be everywhere all the time. That is why I maintain this comes down to personal responsibility. Please, wear a mask whenever you’re around another person who is not in your household so we can protect lives, preserve healthcare access for all of us, and continue our economic rebound,” Governor Little said.
The Stage-2 order is modified, but it will require the following:
- Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. This does not pertain to religious or political expression. Physical distancing is required for all gatherings.
- At-risk Idahoans should self-isolate.
- All Idahoans are encouraged to telework whenever possible and feasible with business operations.
- Masks continue to be required at long-term care facilities.
- Bars, nightclubs, and restaurants continue to operate with seating only.
The modified order will not impact the number of people allowed in businesses, like restaurants and retail shops, or grocery stores.
Gov. Little addressed the issue of Thanksgiving and suggested people keep it small and don't travel far.
Watch the announcement below: