POCATELLO, Idaho — In 65 days, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Idaho went from zero to 2,419.
Yet 11 of Idaho's 44 counties have managed to stay insulated from the virus.
"We absolutely consider ourselves incredibly fortunate at this point in time," said Maggie Mann, director of Southeastern Idaho Public Health in Pocatello. "We know that that can change quickly."
Four of the eight counties Mann serves are COVID-19 free.
Mann attributes part of it to how rural some of those communities are, but with 35 of Idaho's 44 counties considered 'rural,' Mann said that can't be the only factor.
"Certainly if you look at other parts of the country, states like Nebraska, North Dakota, they're experiencing some pretty significant outbreaks in the rural communities," Mann said.
When asked if a lack of access to testing could be a reason for no positive tests, Mann says some of these counties have had more access than the more populated areas.
"Actually some of our counties where we haven't had a case identified are actually testing, percentage-wise, more of their population than the communities that have identified cases," Mann said.
Take Butte County, with a population of 2,597.
To date, 51 people, or two percent of the population, have been tested for COVID-19.
The state of Idaho, with a population of 1.78 million, has tested 2.04% of the entire population. There have been 36,456 COVID-19 tests issued.
So what are these 11 counties doing right?
"I think that they have done for the most part a really positive job at practicing social distancing and really being out and about in our communities for things that are really only essential," Mann said. "I'm just very grateful for the actions of our community members that have taken it seriously," Mann said.
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