White House report shows Idahoans should wear masks, close bars and gyms

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2. Boise, Idaho

The White House recommends that Idaho adopt new guidelines and restrictions to curb the spike in COVID-19 cases.

In a report published by the New York Times, the White House has issued guidance on all 50 states’ response to the coronavirus. Idaho is listed as one of several state in the “red zone”—which indicates over 100 new cases per 100,000 population, and a test positivity rate over 10-percent.

This comes despite Idaho remaining in Stage 4 of reopening since June 13.

RELATED: Report shows Idaho in ‘red zone’ as COVID-19 cases surge, PHD reports 107 new cases Thursday

According to the report, Ada, Canyon and Kootenai counties lead with the highest number of cases the last three weeks, accounting for 76.3-percent of all new cases in Idaho.

Additionally, Idaho’s hospitalizations have spiked, passing their previous peak in April. The White House report says that hospitals in southwest Idaho, specifically, are struggling to take in all the patients.

The White House recommends the state ramp up surge testing and contact tracing to areas with the highest infection rates, as well as adopt a mask mandate in highly affected counties and the Central Health District.

The Panhandle Health District Board recently approved a mask mandate for Kootenai County, which sparked protests outside the Kootenai County Admin Building, and argument inside the meeting room.

RELATED: Panhandle Health District board approves mask mandate in Kootenai County

Idaho is also urged to “consider further restrictions of opening status” should the cases continue to rise.

This means limiting social gatherings, not going to bars, restaurants or nightclubs, and limiting public interaction to 25-percent of normal activity. Public officials are recommended to close bars and gyms, implement weekly testing for healthcare employees and do not allow visitors at long-term care facilities, and increase community testing.