Saturday marks one year since Idaho’s first confirmed case of COVID-19.
Tragically, we have lost close to 1,900 of our fellow Idahoans to this new, dangerous, and aggressive disease. We mourn the loss of life and pray for strength and peace for the loved ones they left behind.
At least 173,000 Idahoans have been infected. Thousands have been hospitalized. Some will have to deal with longstanding health effects from COVID-19.
But now, more than 284,000 Idahoans have received the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. We have turned a corner in our pandemic fight, and I believe the worst part is behind us.
That said, we must remain vigilant. We have a way to go before we can return to “life as normal.”
I want to thank the people of Idaho, from the bottom of my heart, for the sacrifices you have made over the past year. I also want to thank the entire public health team, from frontline nurses to my state team.
Idahoans stepped up in new ways to protect lives, be there for your children, and help our state move forward.
And together, we have made a lot of progress.
We are a leading state for our share of vaccine doses administered.
We have prevented a crisis in our hospitals and case counts and hospitalizations continue to decline, while our economy, schools, and churches have stayed open.
We distributed most of our federal relief funds in direct support of Idaho citizens and businesses through tax relief and grants.
We achieved all that TOGETHER.
And now, because of our collective good efforts, we have the strongest economy in the nation. There is a direct relationship between public health and economic prosperity – and having our kids in school.
We have the most financially solvent state budget, and with our record budget surplus, we are poised to provide Idahoans with historic tax relief and make strategic investments in transportation, education, water, broadband and other critical areas through our “Building Idaho’s Future” plan.
We have low unemployment. We saw the biggest increase in personal income growth. We saw the biggest increase in small business formation over the past year.
As we reflect on a momentous past 12 months, let’s remember that we will not maintain all our progress unless we continue to take steps to protect lives.
Idaho, THANK YOU for your perseverance and sacrifice.
We will continue to get stronger TOGETHER!