Monday, September 28, 2020
COVID Clobbers Idaho in Worst Day Ever
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Jen Smith and Cherie Kessler show off the ticket to the Sawtooth Botanical Garden Tour, which will be held on Saturday, July 25. Tourgoers can wear the bandana as a mask or tie it to their belt loop. For more information about the tour, visit www.sbgarden.org.
   
Thursday, July 16, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

CURVES BY PAUL RIES

Idaho reported its worst day ever for new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. It was also the state’s worst day for deaths.

The state reported 727 new cases for a total of 12,445 since the first was recorded on March 13. The previous worse was 577 on Saturday, July 11.

 
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Paul Ries notes Idaho has its worst day ever with 727 new cases bringing its total to 12,445.
 

The state reported a record eight new deaths from COVID-19, the previous high having been six on two occasions.

Four of those deaths were in Ada County, which has had 29 deaths. Canyon County reported three new deaths for a total of 15 and Jerome County, one. Four individuals were 80 or older; two were in their 70s and one in their 60s.

The City of Caldwell is closing its public buildings in response.

Blaine County suffered its worst day in more than a week with three new cases bringing its total to 554, while Twin Falls County added 13 new cases, bringing its total to 874.

 
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Blaine County had its worst day in more than a week with three new cases bringing its total to 554.
 

South Central Public Health District officials reported that they are seeing a record number of cases within several of the region’s counties, as well. And the majority of the cases came from people who were infected with COVID-19 in public.

“We are seeing a growing number of people exposed to COVID-19 because they are taking unnecessary risks,” said Tanis Maxwell, epidemiologist for SCPHD. “It doesn’t take much to protect yourself from this disease. Handwashing multiple times a day, keeping six feet between yourself and people outside your household, wearing a mask in public places and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces—these simple steps can go a long way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Maxwell urged residents of South-Central Idaho to stay vigilant.

“You, more than anyone else, have the power to protect your health,” you said. “If the people around you are putting your health a risk, go somewhere else or respectfully ask them to help you protect the community.”

Most people within the South Central Public Health District area are reached within two days of their test results. However, recent surges have overburdened health district investigators, delaying some of those investigations and causing contact tracing to become backlogged.

As a result, health officials are urging residents to reach out to their close contacts as soon as they suspect COVID-19 and especially if they have a confirmed case.

“We continue to add contact tracers to our workforce, but it takes time to train and prepare new staff to handle the sensitive data we work with,” said Melody Bowyer, SCPHD director. “We need our residents to help us limit the spread of this disease by making responsible decisions to protect their own health.”

For more information, call 208-737-1138 or, if Spanish, 208-737-5965.

BELLEVUE MANDATES MASKS

Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns has ordered that masks be worn in the Wood River Valley's southernmost city--for the time being, at least. Violations are punishable by a fine of $50.

Victor, which sits on the Idaho side of the Teton Mountains also has passed a citywide mask ordinance, with fines of $250 for infractions..

CAN MASKS LESSEN COVID SYMPTOMS?

It appears that people who wear masks but contract COVID are more likely to be asymptomatic, meaning they have the virus but no symptoms.

That finding is borne out in the tale of two cruise ships. Just 18 percent of those who became infected on the Diamond Princess were asymptomatic—very few of the passengers had worn masks, reports an article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

In contrast, when the first case appeared on the Shackleton, all passengers were issued surgical masks. And, while 58 percent of passengers and crew ended up infected, 81 percent were asymptomatic.

In Oregon where 33 percent of workers tested positive in a fish processing facility, 95 percent were asymptomatic. And in San Francisco, which adopted mask wearing in the early days of the pandemic in the United States, death rates have remained flat with no new deaths since June 27, says USA Today.

Even hamsters seem to fare better with masks. Hamsters who had masks wrapped around their cages were less likely to become infected with COVID-19 than those whose cages were maskless. And if they did get infected, they had milder disease.

CHAINS MANDATE MASKS

Make like the Lone Ranger if you're heading to Starbucks or Walmart. They've joined Costco in mandating masks.

MISSOURI SCHOOLS REQUIRE WAIVERS

One Missouri school district is requiring waivers from parents of student-athletes that they will not be held responsible if students get sick from COVID-19 or worse.

FLIPPY TO THE RESCUE

White Castle Burger chain will test a robot named Flippy this fall as one more touch-free tool against spreading the coronavirus. The hamburger chain had actually been consulting with Miso for a year to build a robot arm that can free employees up for other tasks like disinfecting tables or handling the rising number of delivery orders.

Their salary? One robot costs $30,000 with a $1,500 monthly service fee. Eventually Miso hopes to offer the robot for free but charge higher monthly fees, according to the Associated Press.

 

~  Today's Topics ~


Sun Valley Wellness Offers Doctor’s COVID Perspective for Free

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