Idaho health officials are issuing an isolation order for Blaine County – the state’s first mandatory lockdown in an area that has reported the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far.
Gov. Brad Little (R) announced the isolation order late Thursday afternoon as a flurry of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus were released to the public.
“We’re still working on the details and the residents will still have essential services available to them such as access to grocery stores, and of course, healthcare,” Little said.
It’s unclear when the order will take effect, though Blaine County said it anticipates it will occur sometime Thursday evening.
According to county officials, the order mandates that all residents should stay at home unless they need to go to the grocery store, gas station, bank, laundromat or for childcare. Those who work in “essential” businesses or government are also allowed to leave their homes under the order, though which workplaces will be considered essential have not been released.
In public, gatherings are prohibited and individuals must maintain six feet from each other.
“At this time, it does not appear that community spread in Blaine County is widespread,” Little said.
The epicenter of confirmed cases in the state are in this central Idaho county. Seventeen patients have been diagnosed with COVID-19 there – two of them healthcare providers.
Nearly all of these 12 new cases were found in people younger than 60 years old. They’re evenly split between men and women. It’s unclear whether they’ve been hospitalized or are recovering at home.
A spokeswoman from the South Central Public Health District didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking clarification.
Twenty-three cases have been confirmed statewide as of Thursday afternoon, including Idaho’s first in the panhandle.
Gov. Little has not yet ordered any further restrictions outside of Blaine County. Instead, he urged Idahoans to continue practicing good hygiene and to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
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