Today, in his press conference, Governor Little declared that he will be signing an executive order. He will be engaging the National Guard to step in and help expand services in healthcare. The reasons given were that currently ICUs and Emergency Rooms are at capacity. It’s likely that we are within a few weeks of having to turn away true emergencies; such as heart attacks, strokes, and other critical emergencies.
Governor Little also declared that he was signing a health order returning Idaho to Stage 2 of the Rebound Idaho plan, with modifications. One modification is that all businesses were allowed to remain open. However, gatherings both indoors and out are limited to 10 people with proper distancing. Churches and schools are allowed to continue operations. However, patrons in restaurants will have to remain seated at all times unless moving to and from their dining tables.
Finally, Governor Little addressed the masks. He explained the sciences behind wearing the masks but stated that he would not institute a mask mandate. Instead, he asked that all Idahoans practice “responsible” wearing of masks. Little explained that while some people have been responsible for wearing masks in public. However, they are then going into social settings and removing their masks. His plea was that all Idahoans make the choice to wear a mask or face shield at all times. The governor also asked that people not travel during the Thanksgiving holiday this year. He asked that each household celebrates only with those people that live in your household.
During the press conference, Governor Little chose to invite a young adult who contracted COVID-19 while pregnant, to shared her story. He invited a respiratory therapist who works in the ICU in Boise who also shared her experiences, and explained that healthcare workers are in short supply. Locally, we’ve experienced this same issue in terms of school teachers and substitutes, healthcare workers, and other long-term care workers.
General Garshack from the National Guard announced that they are already setting up a task force to help with labor and manpower to help support the healthcare community with screening, cleaning, logistics, etc. They have already begun setting up in Food Banks and bringing in supplies from the National stockpile. They are also focusing on tasks such as cleaning and steralizing medical facilities to relieve hospital workers from having to focus on the menial tasks allowing them to focus their attention on medical practices.