Idaho just barely entered Stage 4 of Governor Brad Little’s economic reopening plan on Saturday June 13, after an increase in cases recorded throughout the state.

This is the final stage of the Rebound Idaho plan and it allows for large venues and nightclubs to open under certain protocols.

The phase will also allow for public and private gatherings of 50 or more people to resume. Visits to senior living facilities and congregate facilities such as jails can resume so long as those who interact with residents of those facilities and patients are hygiene conscience.

Governor Little announced that close to 100 percent of the businesses will be able to return to operating and that sporting events can continue under limited physical distancing.

He also said that special accommodations for vulnerable peoples should be made.

Valley Vista Care CEO Chuck Lloyd said the senior living facility is working on a plan to have visitors be able to enter the building again.

“Each facility will have a written plan and that will be sent to the Bureau for Facilities Standards for comment,” Mr. Lloyd said. “This isn’t so the plan gets approved or not, but so they can give guidance.”

Mr. Lloyd said that they do have the autonomy to change their guidelines if the spread of coronavirus starts to greatly impact the community.

“Ultimately we have to keep our residents safe, and all of the Valley Vista facilities have not recorded any cases,” Mr. Lloyd said. “One of the things in our written plan is if there is community spread, we should restrict visitation.”

Idaho almost didn’t make it to Phase 4 according to Governor Little. As of Saturday June 13, 51 new cases were reported throughout the state, putting the total amount of cases in the state to 3,302.

“We almost didn’t make it to stage 4 this week. Despite our incredible progress, there are some in Idaho who are not practicing measures to keep themselves and others safe.” Governor Little said during his Rebound press conference.

“Community spread is occurring in more than half of the counties in our state,” Governor Little said. “This isn’t just a Boise or Treasure Valley issue.”

State epidemiologist, Dr. Christine Hahn, said that they are concerned that residents may see more cases in Idaho over the next month, but she did say that testing capacity in the state has increased from 5,000 tests a week to 10,000 tests.

“Testing has gone up dramatically,” Dr. Hahn said. “We think that is one of the reasons why our case counts went up, we are simply testing more people.”

According to Panhandle Health there are 10 cases of coronavirus in Benewah County.

For more information on testing and what steps should be followed if you are ill call the Benewah Community Hospital at 208-245-5551.

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