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Idaho's COVID-19 modeling helps determine the next steps in reopening economy

The model, which is run by mathematicians at the University of Idaho, is helping state officials determine how the state handles the ongoing pandemic.

MOSCOW, Idaho — Reopening the economy after COVID-19 closures have been and continues to be a balancing act for most of the country. So is deciding what to do now that the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in parts of the state, specifically in Ada County.

Dr. Ben Ridenhour, a mathematician at the University of Idaho, works on the state's COVID-19 model. The model is used by state officials as guidance to determine things like when certain businesses should be allowed to open, when they could open, and what to do now that all businesses have been allowed to reopen.

He explained to KTVB that what we're seeing now is what we would have seen back in March if we hadn't taken any steps to slow the spread. 

Though we were able to flatten the curve for a while, reopening has caused a surge of positive cases in several areas, ultimately forcing the step back in stages. The difference? This time it's not statewide.

Dr. Ridenhour said the worry continues to be if this action will be enough to get back to normal, given that we all want to be out doing things outside of the house this summer.

However, the lag in the system is what we're waiting to confirm or deny that this is sustained transmission.

RELATED: How this spike in Idaho's COVID-19 cases is different than the last major rise in infections

According to Idaho's COVID-19 website, as of this last weekend (June 20 to 21), the state had nearly 500 ventilators available and 94 ICU beds, nearly 20 less than a week earlier.

So will this push back to stage three have any effect at all on our health systems in Idaho? 

Unfortunately, only time will tell.

Check out the video above for our entire interview with Dr. Ridenhour.

RELATED: Interactive map and timelines tracking coronavirus numbers and trends in Idaho

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