Idaho Doctors On Hair Salon Safety And Coronavirus Stats

May 27, 2020

Idaho Matters is back with our panel of Idaho doctors to answer more of your COVID-19 questions. This week, they answer questions about current Idaho outbreaks, what precautions we should be taking during reopening and how area hospitals are doing in Stage Two of Idaho's reopening plan. 

Joining Idaho Matters this week are: 

  • Dr. David Pate, a member of the governor’s Coronavirus Task Force, and former CEO of St. Luke’s.
  • Dr. Darin Lee, VP of Medical Affairs at Saint Alphonsus in Nampa.
  • Dr. Sky Blue with Sawtooth Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases.

Have a question for the panel? Leave us a voicemail with your question and we may use it on next Wednesday’s show. Here’s the number to call: 208-426-3625. Or email us at

Read the full interview below:

GAUDETTE: You're listening to Idaho Matters. I'm Gemma Gaudette. As we continue to cover the coronavirus pandemic, we know so many people continue to have questions. And here at Idaho Matters, we do want to answer those questions with facts. The best way to do that, we believe, is to bring in medical experts, in particular medical experts here in Idaho every Wednesday, as you've been noticing. We are bringing in a panel of doctors and other health professionals to get us updated, but to also answer your question, if you have a COVID-19 question for our doctors, you can send us an email at Joining us today, are Dr. David Pate, former CEO of St. Luke's Health System and a current member of the Idaho Coronavirus Taskforce, Dr. Darin Lee, vice president of medical affairs at St. Alphonsus in Nampa, and Dr. Sky Blue, who is board-certified in infectious disease with Sawtooth Epidemiology and Infectious Disease. Good to have everybody here.

ALL: All right. Thank you. Hi, Gemma.

GAUDETTE: Hi. Hey, Dr. Pate, I want to start with you. Governor Little has a news conference that is set for tomorrow. And of course, you can hear it live on Boise State Public Radio. And he'll be talking about Stage 3 of his reopening plan for Idaho. First, can you just give us a preview of what Stage 3 would look like?

PATE: Yeah, if the governor does decide to move to Stage 3, [inaudible] would be that it does allow for larger gatherings, up to 50 people. Now that's with some important caveats. We still have to keep our physical distancing, and we should be wearing face coverings, etc. [inaudible] nonessential travel. It would mean that people coming to Idaho from outside the state no longer have to self-quarantine and it would allow bars to open if they can demonstrate the ability to meet the infection control protocols. So some significant increases here.

GAUDETTE: Dr. Pate, how do you know... you're on a coronavirus task force, I mean, how do you feel the first two stages have gone? And in your opinion, do you think we're ready for this? It seems like a really big leap, frankly, to go from these fairly conservative Stage 1 and Stage 2 openings to Stage 3.

PATE: Well, I certainly understand that. I think that, first of all, I would say Stages 1 and 2 went far better than I thought. I wasn't too terribly concerned about Stage 1. I was a little bit more anxious for Stage 2 and I'll be more anxious about Stage 3. And, you know, I'm a worrier and that's why I'm in the line of business that I've been in.

GAUDETTE: You and me both. [laughter]

PATE: But, you know, I think this is a really great credit to the people of Idaho. Of course, we've had some people who have been irresponsible, in my opinion. But by and large, Idahoans are taking this very seriously. And I think that's what's helped us do so well through these first two stages. The other group that I want to compliment is our businesses. I've talked with a lot of business leaders and almost without exception, they look at the guidance from the CDC in the state as Minimum's, and many of them are trying to do even more and in some cases have been quite innovative. And I'm just really proud of how seriously Idahoans and businesses are taking this. And I think that's allowed us to get to this point where we can really consider doing this. Now, obviously, the more we open up, the more risk we're at. And if we get complacent and think that, OK, you know, things are really getting back to normal and we stop doing the things we need to do, we're going to be in for a big trouble. We saw some glaring examples over the Memorial Day weekend of people doing some things that for those of us that are physicians and scientists, it just scared the bejesus out of us. And so we'll have to watch. But I think the behaviors in Idaho have largely been very, very good.

GAUDETTE: And Dr. Lee, what are you seeing at St. Al's in Nampa when it when it comes to this? Are you comfortable with how the stages have gone and that potential Stage 3 happening I believe over the weekend?

LEE: Yeah, so in Nampa, we've been seeing a steady decline in the number of patients that are being admitted and seen for COVID symptoms, and so I would echo what Dr. Pate had said about. So far things have been going fairly well. And I also echo what he said about the Idahoans and what they have done over the last two months. And I want to personally thank them as an E.R. physician as well. People in Idaho taking it seriously and doing the things that need to be done and allowed us to plan better. They've allowed us to gather PPE. They've allowed us to wait for rapid testing, which allows us to make better decisions in the emergency departments. So from the standpoint of where we are both in Nampa and across the system, we're in a much better place where we are now than we were, say, two months ago. And as we see the numbers starting to decline, that's also encouraging. But again, we still need to be diligent.

GAUDETTE: So, Dr. Blue, at your clinic, you are not testing people for COVID-19, correct?

BLUE: Correct. We're a referral-based infectious disease practice, so we don't really see a lot of those individuals who are coming in for COVID-like symptoms. We see more established infections and infections of different kinds routinely in the office.

GAUDETTE: So, Dr. Blue, if we were to walk into your clinic, what would it what would it look like? I mean, you know, temperature checks, masks. What would that process look like?

BLUE: So, you know, we've been open right through all this. We have established patients with existing infections that we've continued to take care of. We kind of look at protecting our patients and our staff the same. And we do just what we're asking other business leaders to do. We call our patients before they come in asking about their symptoms, seeing what it will need to help take care of them. We do a lot of visits on Telehealth platform where that's appropriate. We've kind of staggered appointment time so that we don't have individuals waiting in a waiting room and they can be taken straight back to a sanitized exam room. Both staff and well, we ask our patients to do is wear masks when they come in, because by necessity, we often have to get within that new three to six foot range of them. We put in the engineering controls where we can. So we have the plexiglas needs guards to protect our front office staff and as well as protect our patients from our staff. We have an office that has about a quarter of the number of individuals it used to have. So we have a lot of people who are able to do their job from home doing that. So we're kind of spread out. Providers as well as other staff are wearing masks and or face shields weren't appropriate when we're taking care of patients. We do not do temperature checks on either staff. Of course, when we're seeing a patient, we'll do temperature checks on them. But since we're seeing individuals for infections, we don't limit the patients from coming in if they have a temperature. That's what we're here to evaluate. We just use the precautions that prevent spread from patients to staff, staff to patient and amongst our staff. So really the same things that any businesses are doing out there. We've always done a high degree of hand hygiene, sanitation, just because of the nature of our practice. And we've even stepped that up several notches in wiping down waiting rooms, high-touch surfaces, bathrooms when they're being used. So you'll see business as usual, but at a slightly different pace because of the telehealth visits and the staggering the appointment times.

GAUDETTE: And Dr. Lee, I am curious: what precautions are being taken at St. Alphonsus to protect patients right now? And a little bit more about that, would be because we're seeing, you know, increases of people not coming to emergency rooms for things like strokes and heart attacks. But people need to know that that's the place that they should go is the emergency room.

LEE: Yeah. Thanks, Gemma. That's correct. So I would just say this, that, you know, our hospitals are a safe place to go right now, whether you're sick or whether they're for other types of testing. You know, we have put in multiple layers of protections to protect both the patients, the staff and anyone else who may be involved. And those are including, you know, what it would look like if you came to our hospital and there's one entrance for everyone, we all go through that entrance. You stand six feet apart your asked screening questions and you'll also have your temperature checked. So we do take temperatures. And just because you have an elevated temperature doesn't mean you're [not] gonna be let in, just like Dr. Blue's office, we do take care of sick patients. So some of those will come in. Then we ask everybody, ask everybody to wear a mask when they come in. We do put up plexiglass guards as well at our registration. We have a cohort of area, basically a separate area that we use for treating patients and evaluating patients who may potentially have COVID symptoms. And so we separate them out from the rest of the general population. That's including both in the emergency department as well as when they're admitted to the hospital. And so when we flagged somebody who potentially could have COVID symptoms, we take them back immediately to a separate area. And then within that area, it's cleaned very often. There are special precautions that all the staff take. And so it looks a little bit different than it would be if you walked into an emergency department in the non COVID section of that. So that's one of the main things. If you're just walking in, what you would see. As we start to you start to open up for elective surgeries, we have developed different pathways for people to take. So if you're a non sick patient coming in for an elective procedure, you have a different pathway than you take for COVID patients as people who need emergency surgeries we try not to do surgery on patients who have COVID. But sometimes you have to. And then our next step, what we've done is really as the numbers have come down, we've allowed us to cohort patients at one facility so that we now our Boise facility as a separate unit just for COVID patients where we can test people in the emergency department. At any of our emergency departments, if they test positive or their high likelihood, we will send them there to be cared for keeping the other hospitals free from COVID as much as possible. And we still do have visitation limitations. And so that is still in place at this time. We're constantly looking at that. We know that's a burden for patients and families of patients, especially not being able to see their loved one when they're in the hospital. We've developed telecommunication for them to be able to see them in the hospital. But currently at this time, we are very slow to try to open that part of it up. We don't want to expose patients who are in the hospital to the general public at this point in time. We'll continue to work on that over the next coming weeks and months.

GAUDETTE: And Dr. Lee, What about doctors? How are they doing? You head up in emergency room. You have seen this since the beginning. There have been doctors, I mean, in particular in the Wood River Valley who were infected and who have recovered. I mean, how are all of you doing in coping?

LEE: Well, thanks for the question. As you mentioned in the introduction. I work administration for the hospital in Nampa, but I also work across the Saint Alphonsus system from Boise to Ontario in the emergency department. And it's been a stressful time for emergency physicians. We're seeing some of our colleagues get sick. We're seeing staff members who have gotten sick. And so it's been a high stress time for those who work within the emergency department. But you know, what I will tell you about this has been really interesting to watch this both from as a physician, as a hospital administrator, is watching people come together. You know, the hospital and the physician leaders when this first started started working really long hours are developing processes, trying to find ways that we're doing things that we couldn't even imagine three months ago. And then on top of that information was changing so quickly that not only did you have to get information to the people, the leaders were making changes, but then also to the people who are on the front lines to make sure that they understood why those changes were happening. On top of that, you have the stress of are we going to run out of PPE? We didn't have any testing initially. And so there were a lot of things that contributed to high stress levels. But one of the things I've told people is that, you know, even before the pandemic, most of us who work in the hospitals feel like within the hospital it's almost like a second family. And we oftentimes, even in times not a pandemic, leaned heavily on each other. So we talk amongst each other. We have, you know, among the physicians we would have, say, Zoom conference happy hours where we could debrief. There were online groups where physicians would go to to talk to other physicians. It's one of the places where you could get information about what was going on in Washington and what was going on in New York to see how they were doing things and quickly disseminate information. And that was also an emotional support area. And the hospitals themselves have tried to do things to support the staff. And it's not necessarily the hospital administration. You know, one of the best examples that I have is from the Nampa Hospital, where the cafeteria workers, you know, there were not many people coming in. And once we put the restrictions and there weren't visitors, there weren't people coming then. And so what they decided to do is transform the cafeteria into a grocery store. So they developed a grocery store there that had your basic goods like flour and sugar and pancake mix and meat and cheese. And so as a hospital employee or as a physician could go there and shop and those things make a huge difference. They also started creating take-and-bake meals for the staff there. We could go there and you can buy a meal that you could then cook up that night for your family. And so again, as a whole, we have supported each other through this and we've had the community support as well, which has been huge. You know, my wife is an E.R. nurse and I'm an E.R. physician, we've had to have some hard conversations about, you know, if one of us got sick or both of us got sick or working in an area which is unfortunately a high-risk area. And so having those things, having the support of the hospital, having the support of the community, the support of the business and the seeing people doing the things that they need to do in order to keep down the curve was really helpful. And the physicians managing to get through this most stressful time.

GAUDETTE: Our panel today, Dr. David Pate, former CEO of St. Luke's Health System and a current member of Idaho's Coronavirus Taskforce, Dr. Darin Lee, vice president of medical affairs at St. Alphonsus in Nampa, and Dr. Sky Blue, who is board certified in infectious diseases with Sawtooth Epidemiology and infectious disease. And we do have some questions. So from listeners. So I want to get to those. Dr. Blue: This comes from Rachel. And she says, There has been a recent spike in cases in Weiser and Jerome County. Can we tie both of those spikes to cases in food processing plants and nursing homes? And what should people be concerned about with these spikes?

BLUE: Well, so I think two parts to that question, first is more of a public health question is where do those cases come from? And that has to do with the contact tracing and what our public health colleagues will do when they get a positive. They'll try to track that down, look for contacts, contacts of contacts and see where those cases may be. And I'm not aware of the final results of those contact tracing in those areas. But it also is a question a little broader as far as the epidemiology of this disease and this virus spread in various locations. And I think as we see by the results of our serologic testing in this state, we probably have 2% or less individuals who have been exposed and infected with this virus. So we have a very large number of susceptible individuals. So we're going to have cases and we're going to have spikes. That is what this is going to do and may be a virus that's with us for many months, if not the next year alone. So we're going to see spikes. But what we're trying to do with the measures that Dr. Pate outlined initially, even as we're going into Phase 3, is that we want to limit the spread of those spikes. A single case is something that we're probably not going to prevent. Maybe a small cluster of individuals who have close contact with that case is probably also hard to prevent and small spikes as well. The groups that get together have a degree of what we call homogeneous mixing. How much is that tight knit group in contact with each other? So if one individual in a family, for example, comes down with this, that's a very high likelihood that the entire family is going to be exposed because of that close contact. Again, it may be an extended family. It may be a small group. It could be a business that has very close ties and contact with each other. So in each of those groups, you have a higher degree of homogeneous mixing. However, if we maintain social and physical distancing in grocery stores and other areas, we try to keep that one spike from turning into the epidemic that can really burden our health care system. So we're going to hear about cases. We're probably going to hear about clusters. We're even going to have small spikes. But that's where ongoing measures that we can all do can limit those from going anywhere beyond that. And so that's what we can all do and have been doing to kind of keep our curve flat here in Idaho.

GAUDETTE: And then Dr. Pate, a regular listener e-mailed us with with a question and they ask: who is responsible for contact tracing? They go on to say, because this individual, they got their haircut yesterday and said that my hairdresser told me that one of our clients had COVID-19 when she came to get her hair done. But before everything was shut down but was not aware of it. The client found out later neither she nor the CDC or anyone else ever got in touch with the hairdresser. The hairdresser found out through a mutual acquaintance and the listener says, I find this on settling. So getting back to who is then responsible for that contact tracing.

PATE: Yeah, it's a good question. And first of all, the fact that the hairdresser didn't hear anything is actually probably good news. So back to the original question, as Dr. Blue mentioned, is the public health dish districts that do this contact tracing. And in Idaho, the way that contact tracing is initiated is two things. Someone having a positive test for the coronavirus. And a discussion with their treating physician. And so if the treating physician believes that the patient has COVID, has communicated to the patient that their test is positive, the public health department will begin the contact tracing. Now, in this particular circumstance, I don't know what the explanation is, but I have some guesses. The first is many people have thought they had COVID, and in retrospect, it turned out they didn't. It could be that this person just believed that they had COVID but didn't get tested or did get tested and the test was negative. And so that could explain it. The only other reason that I can think of where it would be a concern is if the patient truly did have COVID and had a test, but what happens when we do the contact tracing, we get in touch with the patient and we review where had they been for the last 48 hours or so and all their contacts? If the patient didn't mention that she had been to the hair salon, then of course, the tracers won't know to check there. But I think most likely the person indicated they had COVID and probably it turned out they didn't.

GAUDETTE: Dr. Pete, Thomas wants to know then about, since we're talking about hairdressers and salons, what is the risk of visiting a hair salon for a haircut if all of those in the salon wear masks?

PATE: Well, Thomas has a really great question because it's more complicated than you might think. So first of all, let me just mention that some of our models suggest that if you'll do the combination of physical distancing and then wearing face coverings when you're out in public, that we can [inaudible] least 80 percent? So those are very effective measures we can take. Now, obviously, when you're getting your haircut, you can't be six feet apart. So it's going to be more risk than if you could be. But wearing masks or face coverings is a very good thing. Now, with that said, let's talk about some of the limitations. One is we probably all seen people wearing masks incorrectly. I've seen a lot of people that actually have the mask covering their mouths but not covering their nose. That's not going to be as effective. Secondly, I do worry about two things. I worry about hairdressers who don't get paid if they don't show up to work. We had in Missouri two hairdressers that both showed up to work and worked for days being sick. And it turned out that each had COVID, yet they went to work knowing they were sick, I'm sure, because they felt the financial pressures to do so. But in doing so, they exposed somewhere upwards of about 140 people. Now, I haven't heard how the testing came out and how many people actually got infected from that. There's going to be a risk still if people don't do the basic things we're asking, that is, if you're sick, stay home. Likewise, I worry about a number of us that haven't had haircuts or our hair done in quite a while. It takes a while. You set up an appointment by the time your appointment comes in a couple weeks. It turns out you're sick. You don't want to miss your appointment. Do you go in and get your hair done when you're sick? So those things can undermine everything we're doing. But if people will stay home, if they're sick, if they will wear the face coverings and again, with hair salons yet again, you got to get down to details. I've seen pictures of people where the hair dresser is wearing the mask, but the clients are not wearing masks. Well, it is hard to wear a mask and get your haircut as well. But if the people getting their haircuts aren't wearing the mask, then it's not going to be as effective. And so there's just a lot of factors. Plus, even with the face coverings, you still want to be in low numbers of people. When I finally got my haircut last week, I went in and there were four of us, two hairdressers and two clients. I'm more comfortable with that than some of the other salons that I've seen pre-COVID where I might take my wife. And there's like 30 people in that room. Even with face coverings, that's going to make me more nervous. So it all depends.

GAUDETTE: Right. So no easy answers with any of these at all. Dr. Lee, before we go to break, if you can answer this quickly, we have a question from Bruce. And he wanted to know, since Ada County has such low levels of COVID cases, have hospitals considered making some type of cooperative agreement where one hospital is designated a COVID hospital? And then the other hospitals are free to do elective surgeries and see other patients? I mean, you mentioned that St. Alphonsus has done this within your own system, but I would think that would be a little difficult with all of the hospital systems.

LEE: Yeah, I think, though, I mean, it's a good question and we are looking at that from our own system. From the standpoint of, let's say, St. Luke's and St. Alphonsus having one hospital that would be the same COVID hospital, it's probably best to be a little bit more prepared and have both hospital, least the main hospital campuses prepared for COVID patients if you have a spike in patients. It's probably best to have the ability to ramp up as quick as possible. So limiting the number of hospitals that take care of COVID patients is definitely something that has been suggested through the CDC and the World Health Organization. Initially when we started this, we all were taking care of COVID patients and that was probably a good thing to do because we all know how to do it now. We know the processes. We know how to cohort patients. We know how to separate them off from from other patients. And so now we can move all that expertise to save, for in our case, into the Boise hospital for now. If need be, if they start ramping up and they start to see more patients, we can easily move them back. You know, certain hospitals in their physical layout have better ability to separate. So in the Boise campus, they have a surgery center that is attached but is separate, though, from the hospital. And in the Nampa hospital, we don't have that same facility. And so it makes more sense to have Boise be the hospital that takes care of the COVID patients at this time. So it's a really good idea. And, you know, we really don't know where this is going in the next three months. But we are working at trying to limit the number of places that are exposed and then open up for elective surgeries. It's slow, but it is going.

GAUDETTE: Our panel, Dr. David Pate, former CEO of St. Luke's Health System and a current member of Idaho's Coronavirus Taskforce, Dr. Darin Lee, vice president of medical affairs at St. Alphonsus in Nampa, and Dr. Sky Blue, who is board certified in infectious diseases with Sawtooth Epidemiology and infectious disease. Dr. Blue, listener Mike sent in this question: What is the latest information about how likely it is you can catch the virus from surfaces. I heard it's not as bad as we thought.

BLUE: You know, this is a novel disease for us and a novel virus. We're constantly learning a lot about it. And as we kind of stomp on one mode of transmission, we actually see other modes of transmission sneak in. This virus wants to spread -- if we can you give it those emotions -- and it'll find ways to spread. And so, you know, there's a lot of science that continues to evolve about the modes of transmission. So I'm not sure if I can safely say at this stage, which is more easily transmittable. Certainly it can be transmitted by surfaces. Surfaces are easier to disinfect. Surfaces that are exposed to sunlight or UV light are probably disinfected quite a bit sooner. Surfaces that get contaminated with mucus and secretions may actually remain infectious for longer. So there's so many variables in that. I think the short distance aerosols that we've kind of been talking about, the droplets of secretions that come out of our mouths when we cough and sneeze or even when we were talking quietly or loudly can transmit through the air to somebody standing very closely and get on their nose, their mouth, or even surfaces that are nearby that they touch and then touch their nose in their mouth. So the degree that it can do that is probably a matter of debate. Whether it can? It most definitely can. So we should all take the precautions, such as washing our hands frequently because we're touching surfaces that somebody else may have contaminated. And we just don't know. We don't know how long ago that would be. And that's why we also use our mask and our physical distancing to cut down those other rates of exposure. And it'll probably continue to change as we know more about it in the next months, six months and a year.

GAUDETTE: And Dr. Lee, Mike has this question: He says, My wife is in menopause and has frequent hot flashes. She may need to have our temperature tested every day before she can go into work. What if she's having a hot flash when they're taking her temperature? Should she get some kind of letter from her doctor?

LEE: Well, thanks for the question ask you, that's probably the most straightforward question you have. So the good news is, is that hot flashes, they make you feel hot, you get flushed. But it does not affect your core body temperature, at least not to the degree that we would typically expect to raise your temperature above 100.4. And so actually, when you get a fever, when you get a fever, you actually feel cold and make sure your body shiver. So she should be safe to go to work and get her temperature taken. If they're using the thermal scanners, you know, it's hard to say where that have any effect on those ones that are just touched the skin. But certainly if she had an oral thermometer that should be able to accurately measure her temperature, you know, if she is having a hot flash.

GAUDETTE: Dr. Lee, Sue wants to know this. She says she's been staying in quarantined at her home in Boise except to buy groceries. She has a friend in Nampa who wants her to come over and visit this weekend. She says, I live alone. She has a husband and three children who have not been staying home. They've been visiting friends and going other places. Is it safe to go over there now? And if not now, when?

LEE: It's unfortunate that one is not as clear cut. That's a good question. It's one that we get. I get personal all the time from family and friends. And I think the most important thing about this kind of question as with similar questions that have been in this line is what is the risk? You know, when you're talking about a question like this, it's not a yes/no question. Yes, it's OK for you to go now or no, it's not OK. It is really about risk. And that's what all of this staging has been about. So in this scenario, if you're a healthy person, you practice social distancing. You both wear some kind of face covering. The risk is relatively low. But if you are elderly and have multiple medical problems that even with taking the appropriate precautions, you know, your risk may be too great. And it probably is too great. And so that is really the decisions that you have to make on a day to day basis. And these are hard questions to answer for individuals, for parents, for grandparents. We all have to weigh these, you know, as this sleep over, OK, or is this one not? We have to remember there's still community spread and that we still have asymptomatic carriers. And so that's why people should really continue to wear the mask or face covering when they go to stores or places where they can't really social distance. And I know a lot of people think it's not fun, and sometimes you feel like you're the only person wearing one, which I have been in certain instances. But it really shouldn't stop you from making the right choice.

GAUDETTE: Dr. Pate, Pamela sent in this question today. Get ready. It's a long one. She says: I need better coronavirus statistics. How many new cases, by location, how many cases corrected for population per capita data, rates of change, rate of testing, how things are changing in our neighboring states, as all of Utah heads north to be part of the world in Idaho, our mortality rate versus other states type of transmission, another smaller county or health district. She was I just don't feel like I'm getting any useful data.

PATE: Well, join the club. I think I think we all wish we had more and and better data. I think one of the things that's important that Dr. Blue and Dr. Lee would all tell you as well is that certainly as us physicians, I think we have to be aware of limitations, like we've talked a lot about, about tests. We also need to be aware of the limitations of data and, for example, even how the number of cases are presented by various websites: State, CDC, others... Are they including just the confirmed cases or confirmed and cases under investigation? When they're reporting deaths, are they reporting only deaths with confirmed COVID, where we know COVID was the cause of death? Or what about somebody who had a very serious illness that was already life threatening and then got COVID but died of their underlying condition? Are we counting that as a COVID death? What about people that died at home and maybe didn't get an autopsy, didn't get checked, we're probably missing those cases. So I think the first thing is it's just important to understand there's limitations to all these data points. We've talked before about the limitations, about the reports of testing from state to state. Some states include both the PCR testing, which is that a swab up your nose where we're checking to see if you're currently infected. They also include antibody testing, which is completely different. And I think Dr. Lee and Dr. Blue would agree with me, doesn't really have a lot of meaningful clinical evidence for us. So you have to look at how things are reported. But to help you, I think some of the most useful websites are, first of all, for Idaho data. I do think is your best site. Various states have their own sites. You can also look at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, which has data from all the states. And I think that's helpful. And the CDC website, and you're probably not going to find everything you're asking for in just one website. You're probably going to have to look at several.

GAUDETTE: I want to thank all of you for coming in today and answering these questions. They continue to come in front from our listeners. So I so appreciate just the facts and your expertise. All three of you. So thank you so much for continuing this conversation with us every week.

ALL: You're welcome. My pleasure.

GAUDETTE: We have been talking with Dr. David Pate, former CEO of St. Luke's Health System and a current member of the Idaho Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Darin Lee, vice president of medical affairs at St. Alphonsus in Nampa. And Dr. Sky Blue, who is board certified in infectious disease, was Sawtooth Epidemiology and Infectious Disease. If you have a COVID-19 question for our doctors, send us an email at And we will ask our doctors next week. This is Idaho Matters. 

As COVID-19 cases spread through the U.S. and Idaho, we’re committed to keeping you updated and informed. You can get updated info on cases, closures and how to stay healthy at any time on our Coronavirus news blog.

Have a question or comment for the show? Tweet @KBSX915 using #IdahoMatters

Member support is what makes local COVID-19 reporting possible. Support this coverage here.