'This virus is now in our community': First community spread COVID-19 case confirmed in Idaho
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'This virus is now in our community': First community spread COVID-19 case confirmed in Idaho

From the Complete coverage: What Idahoans need to know about the coronavirus series
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South Central Public Health District

South Central Public Health sign on Friday, March 13, 2020, in Twin Falls.

HAILEY — Health officials have confirmed that a previously announced coronavirus case in Blaine County involves a patient who did not travel out of state and had no contact with any other confirmed COVID-19 patient, making it the first known infection from someone else in Idaho.

The patient, who was diagnosed Wednesday, is a man in his 40s who had mild symptoms and is recovering well at home, the South Central Public Health District said.

The case is the first in the region that involves community spread, which means at least one person has been infected with the virus in an area who is not sure how or where they became infected, the district said. Public health officials expect more confirmed cases in the community.

“It no longer matters where it started, this virus is now in our community. It is important that we take precautions to slow the spread and protect the most vulnerable among us,” said Logan Hudson, the district's public health division administrator. “We urge residents to follow public health recommendations to stay home as much as possible to help protect themselves and their communities.”

In addition to Wednesday's case in Blaine County, the first positive COVID-19 test in Twin Falls County was announced Wednesday, making for 11 confirmed cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus in the state. Five of the cases are in Blaine County, but the other four patients contracted the virus out of state.

So far, the investigation has not linked the community spread case with the first four cases reported previously in Blaine County, or to the single case reported in Twin Falls County. The health district epidemiology team has been working diligently to identify any people who had close contact with any of the confirmed cases and is monitoring them for symptoms, the district said.

To slow the spread of the virus, the health district asks everyone to take the following recommended actions:

  • Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.
  • Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
  • Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts where social distancing is not achievable; instead use drive-thru, pickup or delivery options.
  • Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits.
  • Cancel visits to nursing homes, retirement and long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

South Central Public Health District is running two hotlines for information about COVID-19. One in English at 208-737-1138, and one in Spanish, at 208-737-5965. These hotlines are running from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Please refer to phd5.idaho.gov/coronavirus for the latest local numbers and coronavirus.idaho.gov for Idaho-specific information and guidance.

Complete coverage: What Idahoans need to know about the coronavirus

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