An unreleased White House COVID-19 Task Force document lists Idaho as one of 18 COVID-19 “red zones” in the country, the Center for Public Integrity reports.
With results dating from July 4-10, the report determined Idaho's "red zone" status on the grounds that it has more than 100 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, and out of the total number of tests conducted, more than 10% returned positive. New case reports continue to increase, as have COVID-19-related hospitalizations. Since those dates, the viral case load and other indicators have only given a more dire snapshot of the disease's spread in the Gem State.
In regards to Idaho’s situation, it suggests rolling back some of the reopening policies set up by Gov. Brad Little and recommends red zone counties—such as Ada and Canyon counties—limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer. The document, which was labeled with a publication day of Tuesday, July 14, stated both “red” and “yellow” zone counties should be telling the public to wear masks. In total, 27 of Idaho’s 44 counties were placed in a red or yellow zone category.
The report shows that Ada, Canyon and Kootenai counties represented 75.6% of all new cases in Idaho. The state also recorded 167 cases per 100,000 people—48 cases above the national average. The task force document also stated that COVID-19-related hospitalizations have risen rapidly and exceed April’s initial peak. Since the time the data was taken, Idaho’s numbers have only continued to increase.
On Wednesday, July 22, the governor's office confirmed that Little had received this report.
“Certainly he's aware, and knows the report,” Healthcare Policy Advisor Sara Stover said. “We had received the report, went through the information, recognized the recommendations that were in there that were directly related to some of the regional responses that the local public health districts will be making as we kind of transition to a more regionalized model.”
According to Stover, the information was shared with the health districts to guide them as they make determinations about what actions need to take place in their own jurisdiction.
Stover said during Gov. Brad Little’s trip to Washington D.C. on the week of July 13, Little spent a “fair amount” of time discussing COVID-19 related issues. Most of the events Little publicized during his trip were centered around meetings with the President and other officials to discuss rolling back red tape and other restrictions to facilitate Idaho's economic reopening, though Little did meet with Health and Human Services to expand testing in the State of Idaho.