Coronavirus roundup: A turbulent and troubling Tuesday

Central District Health board members approved a far-reaching “public health advisory” aimed at curbing the rampant spread of coronavirus in the Treasure Valley.

The advisory doesn’t directly mention day-to-day school operations — and CDH stopped short of issuing an order Tuesday night. But the development came at the end of a turbulent and troubling day on the coronavirus front.

Here’s a rundown:

The CDH advisory. Couched as two pages of “strong recommendations,” CDH’s guidelines could affect schools in two ways.

The board cautions against any youth or adult sports or activities “in which physical distancing is not possible.”

CDH also urges schools to discontinue all school extracurricular activities “in which physical distancing cannot be maintained AND where physical distancing can be maintained but the activity requires increased breathing, such as choir and band.”

The advisory could become an order, however, if the Saint Alphonsus or St. Luke’s hospital systems or the Boise VA hospital reaches “crisis standards of care,” Ruth Brown of the Idaho Statesman reported.

CDH covers Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties.

COVID-19 deaths peak. Shortly before the CDH convened its meeting, the state and the state’s health districts issued a sobering set of numbers.

On Tuesday, Idaho’s COVID-19 deaths hit a one-day peak. The state and the health districts reported 38 COVID-19 deaths — more than doubling the one-day peak of 16 deaths, reported by the state on Nov. 7.

As of Tuesday, 801 Idahoans have died from COVID-19.

Meanwhile, case numbers continue to surge at an unprecedented pace. The state reported a record 1,781 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases Tuesday.

The state and the health districts now report 85,368 coronavirus cases, a number that has doubled since Sept. 30.

Health district entertains conspiracy theorists. Tuesday began with a Southwest District Health board heard from a doctor and a naturopath who spent nearly an hour sharing “false and unverified information about masks, vaccines and COVID-19 treatments,” Audrey Dutton of the Idaho Statesman reported.

According to Dutton, Dr. Vicki Wooll described Idaho as “a victim of a very sophisticated psy-ops, psychological warfare. … We are not the enemy. The enemy is coming from without.”

At one point, Dutton reported, Wooll floated the false notion that COVID-19 could be connected to 5G wireless internet.

Local doctors then urged the board to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously, Dutton reported.

The Southwest health district covers Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington counties.



Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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