According to the State of Idaho's COVID-19 website, June 24 was one of the most difficult days in the Gem State's battle against the novel coronavirus, with 223 confirmed new cases and an additional 20 probable cases reported—the highest number of reported cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
As the number of cases has trended upward since the beginning of Stage IV of Gov. Brad Little's Idaho Rebounds staged economic reopening plan, Little announced on June 25 that Idaho will not move past Stage IV for another two weeks, and will adopt a regional approach to combating the disease.
"The goal all along has been to ensure our hospitals aren't overrun with people seriously ill from complications of this highly contagious respiratory disease," he wrote in a press release. "You can engage in the economy, safely go back to work, and safely receive care from your medical provider, but you must do so while practicing the proven measures to fight the spread of coronavirus."
Between June 10, when Stage IV began, and June 25, the number of cases trended upward, and the average percentage of COVID-19-positive test results was 5.12%—higher than the maximum of 5% set by public health officials.
The failures to meet statewide standards led Little to prolong Stage IV through at least Friday, July 10, and reiterate the importance of wearing face masks, maintaining social distance, washing hands regularly and staying home if you feel sick.
As part of the announcement, Little said he would delegate mitigation of the pandemic to Idaho's seven public health districts. The Treasure Valley is served by Central District Health.
Earlier this week, Ada County, working in conjunction with Central District Health, announced that the county had regressed to Stage III of the economic reopening process. That took place after the number of active cases of COVID-19 increased dramatically after the rollout of Stage IV; notably, a cluster of cases formed around bars and nightclubs in downtown Boise in the last two weeks.
Several bars and nightclub owners spoke out about the decision to return to Stage III, saying they were not a part of the conversation to shutter categories of businesses public health leaders say can contribute to the spread of the disease.