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Gov. Little: Idaho to remain in Stage 4 for another two weeks

The state has once again not met the metrics needed to move out of Stage 4 health restrictions. Little said coronavirus hospitalization rates remain too high.

BOISE, Idaho — Gov. Brad Little announced Thursday that Idaho has not met the metrics needed to move out of Stage 4 health restrictions. That means Idaho will stay in Stage 4 of its rebounds plan for at least another two weeks.

During a press conference at the Statehouse, Little said our latest COVID hospitalization numbers are not where we want to be as Idaho heads into flu season, which will tap the state's healthcare capacity even more while in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As we approach the fall, opportunity for community spread will increase. Dropping temperatures will drive people indoors where people will be sharing physical space and more transmissible moments can occur," Little said.

Not enough has changed in Idaho in the last two weeks, according to a top health official.

"So, for those of you that follow the metrics closely I wanted to let you know that we're looking pretty much like we did two weeks ago," said state epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn. 

"Our cases rates are declining. They have been declining now for several weeks," she said. 

And diagnostic tests in Idaho that are positive are declining.

"We're now just over 8 percent positive. It's not where we need to be. We're not feeling secure and safe," Hahn said.

Currently, every county in the state is in Stage 4, except for Ada County which was rolled back to Stage 3 after a spike in coronavirus infections. 

Little said Idaho's economy continues to recover and children are headed back to school in most parts of the state. 

"We have managed to do that without maxing out healthcare capacity statewide," Little said. 

But he said now is not the time to let our guard down.

"I urge Idahoans to get a flu shot and ramp up your personal actions to prevent the spread of both the coronavirus and the flu. Wear a mask, avoid large gatherings, especially indoors. Keep physical distance from others, wash your hands, clean services regularly and stay at home," Little said.

In his last press conference on Aug. 21, the governor said he was hopeful about Idaho's direction but said the state had missed the hospital admissions benchmark. Officials said then that an average of eight people a day were being admitted to hospitals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Likewise, Little warned at the time, Ada, Canyon, Kootenai, Bonneville, and Twin Falls counties continued to be "hotspots" for the virus. 

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But other factors, like testing positivity rates, ER visits and overall cases appear to be falling or stabilizing, the governor said. 

The state has been stalled in Stage 4 that was initially set to expire on June 27. It allows gatherings of more than 50 people as long as precautions are taken.

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

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