Idaho task force releases plan to increase COVID-19 testing across state

BOISE, Idaho — The State of Idaho has released a new COVID-19 testing strategy in an effort to protect lives, preserve healthcare capacity and rebound the economy.

During a press conference Friday, Governor Brad Little announced the state’s Testing Task Force has completed a list of recommendations to ramp up testing.

“A strong economic rebound can only occur with a combination of efforts, and expanded and targeted testing is a big part of our strategy,” Governor Little said. “We have an impressive team of very capable local clinical and laboratory and research experts from across the state helping us navigate this crisis, and I sincerely appreciate their help.”

The task force’s recommendations include who should be tested and how often, expanding testing across all groups of people, as well as testing symptomatic and asymptomatic people.

The task force also called for investment in local testing capacity, expansion of molecular diagnostic testing and a limited use of antibody testing.

“The takeaway message from these recommendations is that we will need to build incredible testing capacity plus the ability to respond to all of those results with appropriate clinical and public health follow-up care, if we hope to provide widescale and repeated testing for all Idahoans who may need to be tested,” said Dr. Christopher Ball. Chief of the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories and co-chair of the task force.

The task force said that, while testing is important, it must be paired with contact tracing, physical distancing and personal hygiene.

The Testing Task Force’s full report can be found here.

RELATED: Customers enjoy dine-in services as Idaho transitions to Phase 2