Little urges caution as Idaho advances through reopening plan

“Shirley, you need to be careful.”

That was the bottom line advice Gov. Brad Little issued Tuesday to a Twin Falls resident who wanted to know what moving to stage four of the reopening plan means.

Last week, Little OK’d the move to stage four of the Idaho Rebounds plan. Simply put, that means all businesses can be open and sports can take place, but there are restrictions on venues and the size of gatherings.

Speaking to Shirley and hundreds of other Idahoans during Tuesday’s weekly AARP Idaho telephone town hall meeting, Little said the coronavirus is still contagious and spreading across the Gem State.

“Just because we are in stage four doesn’t mean we can go back to life as normal,” Little said.

“Most importantly, if you feel sick at all, stay home. The infection rate of this COVID virus is very high. Higher than almost all the other affiliated flus, pneumonia, COVID viruses, so it is really important for people to stay home (if they are sick).”

During the call, Idaho Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said the state is tracking an increase in COVID-19 cases among 20- to 30-year-olds, particularly in the Treasure Valley. The state continues to conduct contact tracing to investigate the transmission source, Jeppesen said.

Education did not come up during the call.

Since he announced Idaho’s first confirmed case on March 13, Little’s plans to slow the virus have been met with pushback and proved controversial among some Republican state leaders. However, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden made it clear he had Little’s back.

“There’s lots of people that don’t understand the nature of your responsibility to protect the health, safety, welfare, morals of the people,” Wasden said. “You’ve been exercising that power. Any decision you make has been met with, you know, angst, anger and beyond and I wanted to say, ‘thank you’ to you for your willingness to stand up and show leadership and help us with this really terrific, terrible problem this pandemic of COVID-19.”

On June 24, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is scheduled to join Little during the next telephone town hall meeting.


Clark Corbin

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