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Idaho lawmakers approve $2 million emergency funding request to respond to coronavirus

The request was submitted to the Legislature by Idaho Gov. Brad Little. Idaho is also guaranteed $4.5 million in federal funds to prepare for the virus.
Credit: Tegna/Jason Puckett

BOISE, Idaho — Legislative budget writers have approved a $2 million funding request from Gov. Brad Little to help Idaho respond to the novel coronavirus.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved transferring the money Friday to the Governor’s Emergency Fund.

“While the individual risk for coronavirus in Idaho is still low, the situation is rapidly evolving and we do expect confirmed cases in Idaho at some point,” Gov. Little said. “Idaho is prepared, and we all must do our part to prevent the spread of coronavirus by washing your hands frequently, staying home if you are sick, and avoiding others who are sick. I commend the Legislature for acting decisively to ensure we are prepared to protect the people of Idaho.”

Idaho is also guaranteed at least $4.5 million in federal funds after Congress approved President Trump’s request for $8.3 billion in supplemental spending for coronavirus preparedness and response this week.

On Wednesday, the governor announced a new website – Coronavirus.Idaho.Gov – where the public can go to find up-to-date information from the state on the situation and how to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

A check of the website Friday morning showed that no one in Idaho has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

In total, 36 people in Idaho have been monitored for possible contamination. Of these people, 27 are no longer being monitored by Idaho public health officials, meaning 6 people are currently being monitored.

Only three people in Idaho have been tested for coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Two of them are Oregon residents.

The governor also created a Coronavirus Working Group that meets at least weekly to support the work of Idaho’s public health agencies and increase coordination and communication about the virus.

“I am committed to providing timely communication with the public on the status of coronavirus and our preparation and response efforts in Idaho,” Little said.

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