Idaho to Advance to Stage 3, Allows Larger Gatherings
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)-Idaho is moving to Stage 3 of Rebound Idaho as the state has seen a dramatic drop in cases in COVID-19 infections. Gov. Brad Little announced Tuesday morning the state will move up to Stage 3 restrictions following a two-month downward trend since November of coronavirus cases. At the time the governor and health care providers warned that hospital beds for COVID-19 patients were being filled and the health systems were on the brink of being overwhelmed.
Dr. Christine Hahn, state epidemiologist, said the state was not "out of the woods" for COVID-19, but that the state had seen good improvement in December and January, "The data is really pleasing to us. We have seen a dramatic drop in cases in the state." Dr. Hahn said that in late December Idaho ranked 23 in the nation for COVID-19 infection rates, now Idaho is at 40 compared to other states. "I think that the fact that Idahoans stepped up. I'm really impressed when I go out and about, need to to get to the grocery store, people are wearing their masks, people are social distancing. I think people are really trying and I think its paying off."
Both Dr. Hahn and Gov. Little noted there is concern about the new more contagious strain of the COVID-19 virus, B117 first detected in Great Britain, inevitably reaching Idaho. Dr. Hahn said the state is looking for the new strain in the tests that are being done. The governor said the current vaccines being administered appear to be a effective against the new strain.
Stage 3 allows for 50 people within a group sitting, up from 10 people; large venues that wish to host 50 or more people must get approval from the local health district. Sporting events are being governed by different rules, and religious gatherings are exempt. For the details visit rebound.idaho.gov. The current risk level for the counties within the South Central Public Health district are at a moderate risk, with Blaine and Camas counties being in the high risk category; Blaine County uses a separate, more stringent set of criteria in determining the COVID-19 risk level.
We found an error in the risk assessment plan we released yesterday. Minidoka county was orange (high risk) in the risk...