Little plans to move to a regional response to coronavirus pandemic

If there are spikes in the fall or winter, Gov. Brad Little will be more likely to employ a more nuanced regional approach to managing the coronavirus pandemic than a statewide lockdown, he said Tuesday.

Little fielded a question about how the state would address any potential second wave of the virus during his weekly telephone town hall meeting organized by AARP Idaho.

Little described it as a simple question with a complex answer.

He stressed that it depends on the magnitude of a second wave.

He emphasized the state’s ability to preserve health care capacity to treat people is a major factor.

“So If we can preserve that capacity going forward, if we have an increase in numbers and we have got health care capacity, there won’t be any kind of a significant action needed,” Little said.

“I fully anticipate — and it will depend — that we will do it on more of a regional basis,” Little said, addressing the state’s response strategy going forward.

Idaho has been in stage three of the Idaho Rebounds plan since Saturday. Little said he will make an announcement about moving to stage four, which would allow larger gatherings, sports, nightclubs music venues and the like, next week.

“With any luck, and I don’t know if you can hear I am knocking on wood here in the conference room, with any luck we will be at stage 4 in a week and a half and then we will track, we will have better tracing, we’ll have better testing, we’ll have better eyes and ears on the ground about what’s taking place,” Little said.

If Idaho meets the criteria to move to stage 4, the move could take place June 13.

Tuesday’s town hall was dominated by unemployment and economic concerns. Several callers told Little they have waited 10 weeks or more since filing a claim and have yet to receive their benefits.

Education didn’t really come up Tuesday, but last week on the call Little said reopening K-12 public schools in the fall was among the top priorities of his coronavirus response plan.

As of Monday afternoon, Idaho was tracking 2,906 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 83 deaths. A new daily update is expected at about 5 p.m. today.

 

Clark Corbin

About Clark Corbin

Reporter Clark Corbin has covered Idaho government and education for more than a decade. He’s followed every legislative session, gavel-to-gavel, since 2011. Clark is a co-host of the Extra Credit podcast with Kevin Richert published on Fridays. You can follow him on Twitter: @clarkcorbin. He can be reached by email at [email protected]

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