Little will discuss — and likely extend — stay-at-home order Wednesday

On Wednesday, Idahoans will find out what the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order will look like in the days and weeks to come.

Gov. Brad Little has scheduled an 11 a.m. news conference Wednesday “regarding the 21-day stay-home order,” the governor’s office said in a media advisory Monday.

Gov. Brad Little participates in a video conference call with the White House Monday, discussing the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo from Gov. Brad Little’s office.)

The news conference will come 21 days to the day after Little issued a historic order closing non-essential businesses and  urging Idahoans to stay home and work from home if possible. State stay-at-home orders are facing a backlash from some conservatives — and apparently, from the White House as well.

Little has said the stay-at-home order will remain in place, in some form.

“We will not flip the switch and go back to what it was before, for a variety of reasons,” Little said on Idaho Public Television’s “Idaho Reports” Thursday.

Little has said the stay-at-home order is beginning to work, as Idaho tries to slow the spread of the contagious coronavirus. As of Sunday, the state and its health districts reported 1,428 cases of coronavirus. That represents a 29 percent increase over the past week. But the preceding week, the number of cases had increased by 242 percent.

The slowdown in case numbers means Idaho’s hospitals are prepared to handle an uptick in cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease triggered by coronavirus, Little said Thursday. “(But) it’s not a comfortable enough margin that we want to get carried away.”

Idaho’s K-12 schools and public colleges and universities are closed, in an attempt to slow the coronavirus.

The stay-at-home order has come under some fire. A handful of elected officials, including Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, say the order is unconstitutional  — a claim Attorney General Lawrence Wasden disputes. The Idaho Freedom Foundation, a conservative lobbying group, has questioned the order’s legality and has urged Little to allow businesses to reopen.

Little Monday participated in a video conference call with the White House Monday.

“Thank you to our federal partners for their swift, decisive actions,” Little said on Twitter. “A strong response ensures Idahoans can get back to work sooner!”

But also on Twitter, President Trump seemed to openly question whether governors such as Little could close down — or reopen — their states’ economies.


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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