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Idaho appears to be flattening the curve, but the economy won't be rushed to open again

Governor Brad Little told KTVB on Viewpoint that if the economy is opened too soon, there could be a second wave of the coronavirus.

BOISE, Idaho — Governor Brad Little's statewide stay at home order is set to expire on Wednesday. It remains to be seen just what will take its place once that happens. The governor did say on KTVB's Viewpoint on Sunday there will be something to take its place on the 15.

Idaho’s curve started to spike near the end of March. The state and local health districts were reporting either more than a 100 or close to 100 new cases five straight days. One of those days was 227 new cases, the highest total in a single day.

Starting on April 4, the number of new cases started to drop. Since then, the highest has been 94 new cases and the lowest was just nine.

While the initial takeaway from this appears that Idaho is starting to flatten the curve, the state doesn’t want to go away from what’s working too soon.

The last thing we want to do is end the isolation early and get back to work and immediately have another bump,” said the owner of Saltzer Health Medical Group, Dr. Tommy Ahlquist.

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Ahlquist is one of the founders of the initiative, ‘Crush the Curve Idaho.’ Their goal is to provide COVID-19 testing to essential workers during the pandemic.

While optimistic about the reduced amount of new cases per day, Ahlquist said the state still needs to do more testing.

“I still don’t know for sure what it means because of testing numbers, we still need more testing,” he said. “That’s the bottom line, COVID-19 testing and antibody testing, there’s just not enough of it.”

Governor Brad Little told KTVB on Viewpoint his two goals are to keep people safe and re-open the economy as fast as possible.

RELATED: 'We knew it was coming': Owner of Saltzer Medical Group breaks down the COVID-19 pandemic

“If I try and do the latter too fast, we will have a second wave,” the governor said. “The second wave can even be worse than the first one given the fact that we have community spread in almost every corner of the state.”

Ahlquist envisions more of a phased opening of the economy. He believes more and more businesses will be able to open once the capacity of COVID-19 and antibody testing is increased.

“That’s the big risk in all of this, is we survive this first hump and then the next one comes and catches us flat-footed again, we can’t let that happen,” he said. “Where are the hotspots, when is it coming back and how do we isolate, how do we not make the same mistake next time that we made this time.”

Both the governor and Ahlquist agree that right now social distancing and the statewide stay at home order appear to be working in slowing the spread.

“All of the social distancing, people using the mask and doing what they're doing, it is working. We are crushing the curve,” Ahlquist said.

“We will get through this; I am 100% confident. I think we will get through it better than almost any other place,” Little said.

Governor little announced he will be holding a news conference on Wednesday at 11 a.m. to address the stay-at-home order. KTVB will live stream it on KTVB.COM.

At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage and the latest COVID-19 case numbers, visit our coronavirus section here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus

RELATED: 'Crush The Curve': Businesses launch initiative to increase coronavirus testing capacity in Idaho

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