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BREAKING: Idaho Gov. Brad Little Announces State's First Confirmed Case Of Coronavirus

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Heath Druzin
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Boise State Public Radio

UPDATE: Saturday, March 14 - 1:55 p.m.

Saturday afternoon, Idaho State University students received an email from university president Kevin Satterlee that stated the woman confirmed as Idaho's first positive COVID-19 case is a student at ISU's Meridian campus.

His announcement said this patient was last on campus Tuesday, March 10, though contact with others in the school community was limited. Anyone deemed to have been at risk for exposure has already been contacted by Central District Health for guidance and monitoring.

Prior to learning this information, Satterlee sent an email Friday announcing the university's decision to extend spring break by one week and move all courses to remote delivery for the remainder of the semester, starting March 30. These measures were put into place to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 situation.

Original post from Friday, March 13 at 5:35 p.m.:

Gov. Brad Little (R) and state public health officials announced Idaho's first confirmed case of coronavirus Friday afternoon in a press conference, just hours after declaring a state of emergency.

The person is a woman between the age of 50 and 60 and is in isolation at home in Ada County. She recently returned from a conference in New York City where three other attendees tested positive for coronavirus. She is currently doing well and recovering from mild symptoms.

"We are concerned for this person, but we're glad her symptoms have been mild," Elke Shaw-Tulloch, administrator for the Division of Public Health for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said in a press release. "I'm impressed at how well the clinic where the sample was collected minimized the risk to staff and other patients."

The patient was asymptomatic when she traveled from New York City back to Idaho via the Boise airport. Officials said she was only back "a few days" before feeling sick and seeking medical attention. Her treating physician ruled out influenza and then worked to gather information on the woman's travel history, symptoms and exposure risk.

The sample was taken late Thursday and sent to the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories, where it was tested Friday morning. Her positive test for COVID-19 did not require hospitalization.

This case was not contracted from community spread. Epidemiologists with Central District Health are working with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to determine reasonable risk criteria based on her movements since her return to Idaho. If others are found to be at risk for exposure, health officials said they will monitor them closely.

"We understand that this is scary," said Shaw-Tulloch, "but we encourage everyone to do their part to stay healthy and prevent illness: Wash your hands often, cover your coughs and sneezes, stay home if you're sick, and stay away from sick people."

In a press conference Friday afternoon, Gov. Little said the state has been preparing for its first confirmed case since January, putting precautionary measures and recommendations in place.

"Our focus is on slowing the spread of coronavirus to protect vulnerable individuals and preserve capacity in our healthcare facilities," Little said.

This is a breaking news story and we will continue to update it as information becomes available.

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