COVID-19 On The Local Level

With still zero confirmed cases, Idaho is trying to stay ahead of a massive outbreak.

Over the past few weeks, we have seen major public events postponed or shut down as an attempt to keep the novel COVID-19 virus from spreading. Since then, both Seattle and the entire state of Oregon have banned all public gatherings of more than 250 people for at least a month (possibly longer), Pres. Trump has banned European travel for 30 days, the NBA has suspended its games until further notice, cruise lines are on hold, hotels are receiving record numbers of cancellations, and that’s not to mention all the human suffering worldwide.

The market has been up and down as a result of all the chaos. Manufacturers of important supplies around the world have either slowed or halted production completely (with some exceptions). The complex system of supply chains to furnish the world with life’s necessities have reportedly been disrupted. If the news is to be taken at face value, it would seem that this is just the beginning of the toppling of modern civilized society. 

I guess it depends on who you ask.

Unfortunately for all of us, there is so much information and misinformation coming from almost everywhere that it is nearly impossible to know what is true and what is not. The CDC tells us not to touch our faces and to wash our hands for at least 20 seconds as often as possible, and don’t forget to cough into your elbow, not your hands. Health gurus are claiming that time in the sauna will help eliminate the virus from the bodies of the infected. Medical communities seem to be offering some mixed messages as time has gone on and the virus has spread.

Now, after a handful of months, at least 20 states across the U.S. have reported positive results when testing for COVID-19, with a total count of 1,215 cases, and 36 deaths, according to the CDC.

But what about Idaho?

As of this morning, 48 individuals in Idaho are being monitored for possible COVID-19 cases. There have been 37 people monitored and later deemed healthy enough to be released. Idaho still has no official coronavirus cases. Everyday these stats are updated on the Idaho government’s official COVID-19 information website, so keep your eyes on it.

Central Health District of Idaho paints a grim picture of what might happen in the coming months. They, like other national medical boards, predict that “widespread transmission” of the coronavirus is inevitable, and that it 

“would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools, childcare centers, and workplaces, may experience more absenteeism. Mass gatherings may be sparsely attended or postponed. Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and sectors of the transportation industry may also be affected. Healthcare providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it.”

While there is no official word on it now, it is likely that Idaho adopts similar policies as its neighboring states of abolishing events that will bring more than 250 people together. Idaho events have voluntarily shut down or postponed themselves before there was a need to compel them. So far, that officially includes Treefort and all of its related Forts, including Alefort, Foodfort, Comedyfort, Yogafort, etc., everything going on at Expo Idaho all the way through April, including Gem State Comic Con, and the Big Sky Conference. Only time will tell if the Morrison Center, JUMP, Knitting Factory, and the Ford Idaho Center (among others) decide to either temporarily close their doors, or have all their bookings cancel on them.

Local businesses of all kinds will definitely feel the pinch eventually. It may not have happened yet, but pubs, restaurants, and most stores will see a drastic reduction in patron visits as soon as the disquiet of seeing such long awaited events being moved or simply eliminated sets in. Things will become even more complex should schools and daycares close, forcing parents to either stay home from work and forgo pay, or figure something else out. Idaho officials urge citizens not to panic, but recognize that barring COVID-19 from Idaho forever is a fool’s dream.

If you aren’t feeling well, stay home from work, school, or whatever else you might be doing. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about this disease that will take time to answer. We can remain temporarily comforted that infection and death rates of COVID-19 are fewer than other diseases we have seen before. 

We at Go Out Local are in the business of helping and encouraging people to get out in the world and participate with their local communities. Right now, however, it looks like the best thing we can all do is keep our distance, don’t lose hope, and prepare rationally. It is unwise to think that Idaho will remain an uninfected island forever. But it is equally unwise to panic and rush out to buy a million products we think might save us from what we think is the coming apocalypse. If you are feeling healthy, it’s perfectly ok to Go! hit the town and have some fun. Just be smart, be courteous, be considerate, and be sanitary. The world hasn’t quite burnt down . . . . yet.

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Adam Brimhall

Adam Brimhall

An expert at going out.