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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Idaho Physical Therapy Clinics Close Or Move Online Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Physical therapy, physical therapist
Tina Staffieri
U.S. Department of Defense
Physical therapist Jill Kadish helps Lt. Col. Brent Jargersen complete an exercise with the support of his service dog Houston during a physical therapy appointment at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital on July 27, 2012.

While hospitals in Idaho have been expecting a stream of patients with COVID-19, other health clinics are seeing a drop in business.

Matt Booth has been a physical therapist for 22 years and is currently the clinic director at Therapeutic Associates in southeast Boise.

Idaho confirmed its first case of coronavirus on March 13 – a date that sticks out in Booth’s mind.

“As of March 13, we were as busy as we’d ever have been and then the next week, we were down 30% in visits,” he said.

Many were cancellations, but some of that slide is because they’ve had to decline appointments so they can focus on clients with more significant needs. Half of Booth’s staff is currently on furlough because of the virus.

He said some other physical therapy clinics around the Treasure Valley have fully shut their doors.

While they’re still holding some in-person appointments, he said a lot of physical therapy can be done over video chat to make sure they’re maintaining proper form.

“That can be all sorts of core exercises, squats, lunges, lifting.”

A similar downturn happened during the 2008 financial crisis, Booth said. Recovery from that, like a lot of businesses, was slow, but it eventually recovered.

It’s unclear when his clinic will be back to full capacity, but Booth expects appointments will spike as soon as it’s safe for society to come out of isolation.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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