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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.

After Period Without Speaking, Idaho Lt. Gov. McGeachin Joins Gov. Little For COVID-19 Town Hall

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Darin Oswald
/
Idaho Statesman
Idaho Gov. Brad Little proclaimed a state of emergency in Idaho on Friday, March 13, 2020 as a proactive step to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Brad Little said in early May that it had been weeks since he’d spoken to Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin. But on Tuesday, McGeachin joined Gov. Little and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen for the first time during a weekly COVID-19 town hall.

 

Lt. Gov. McGeachin has publicly criticized Gov. Little’s stay at home order for its impact on businesses. But on this week's AARP call, she thanked the governor for his recent announcement to pay local public safety salaries with federal relief money.

“Having run on a platform to support our business community in Idaho, I wish to thank the governor for agreeing to substantial property tax relief for the citizens of Idaho," she said.

 

The three officials took questions from callers around the state. One from Eastern Idaho asked about the mental health of people stuck inside long-term care centers. Director Jeppesen said the coronavirus working group and long-term care strike team is finalizing new guidelines to allow nursing homes to open back up to some visitors.

 

“We have the capability to do this where we won’t put all of those residents, and I literally mean, at risk of death," Jeppesen said.

 

Limited visitations to long-term care centers could begin on Saturday, if the state moves forward to Stage 4 of the reopening plan. Sixty percent of Idaho's COVID-19 deaths are associated with long-term care facilities, several of which still have active cases.

 
Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen
 
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