With the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic, the Franklin County Commissioners made a formal Declaration of Emergency Disaster for the county during their March 23 meeting. The declaration costs the county nothing and keeps it in the loop regarding federal and state emergency communications. The declaration was prompted by Warren Wilde, the county emergency coordinator and response manager.
The commissioners also received a detailed update of the county’s GIS survey of land use in the county. Sarah Leyland from the county’s road department explained the many features that the computerized update brings to various county departments, such as road overlays, sewer and water lines, property and geologic features, as well as many other items.
The commissioners were impressed with the accuracy and detail of the update. “It was money that was well spent” said commission president Boyd Burbank.
Eric Sant discussed with the commissioners updating vital county data that is the result of the GIS project. The project is yielding accurate data that can be used by both the road department as well as the tax assessment department. The commissioners applauded the wealth of information that was being generated by the project and voted to continue the survey.
Boone Smith told the commissioners that the state Health and Welfare department had advised the Probation Department that there is a small change in pricing practice. In the future, when there is a need for drug testing, which the probation department already does, the cost will be paid by the state rather than by the individual being tested.
Sheriff Dave Fryar then spoke to the commissioners and reported that the contract for work at the state Quagga mussel inspection stations would be renewed. The contract is between Franklin County and the Department of Agriculture.
The county’s road and bridge department manager, Troy Moser, went over a list of contracts that had been awarded for various construction materials and services for the coming summer projects. They included dust control, asphalt material, chipping oil, helicopter weed spraying, and the purchase of a drone for spot spraying of noxious weeds as well as other tasks. The commissioners rapidly approved all of the requests.
Following the guidance of Idaho’s public health experts, Governor Brad Little issued a statewide stay-home order today for all Idahoans.
He also signed an extreme emergency declaration, which allows the state to more effectively increase health care capacity, take steps to reduce and slow coronavirus spread, and take rapid and decisive steps to improve the condition of Idahoans whose job and incomes are being harmed by the pandemic.
“From the get-go, our focus has been to slow the spread of coronavirus to protect our most vulnerable citizens and preserve capacity in our healthcare system,” Governor Little said. “And from the beginning, I stated my commitment to making decisions about our response to coronavirus based on science. With confirmed community transmission of coronavirus now occurring in Idaho’s most populated areas, we need to take strong measures to ensure our healthcare facilities are not overburdened. I am following the guidance of our public health experts and issuing a statewide stay-home order effective immediately.”
The stay-home order requires citizens to self-isolate at home if you can, not just if you are sick. This excludes healthcare, public safety and other essential workers as defined in the order. If you are high-risk, avoid leaving home. People can leave home to obtain or provide essential services as defined in the order. Employers that do not provide essential services as defined in order must take all steps necessary for employees to work remotely from home.
Grocery stores, medical facilities, and other essential businesses as defined in the order will remain open. Restaurants across the state are being ordered to close dine-in but drive-thru, pick up, and delivery will still be available. Non-essential businesses and services will close their physical locations. This includes bars, nightclubs, gyms, recreational facilities, entertainment venues, convention centers, hair and nail salons, and others not included in the “essential” category as defined in the order. People must limit public transit unless to provide or obtain essential services. People must limit all discretionary travel. People must limit all non-essential gatherings of any number of individuals outside the household. When you go for a walk, run, bike ride, or other outdoor recreation near your home, stay 6-feet away from individuals who are not part of your household.
“Our healthcare and public safety workers are putting themselves in harm’s way to respond to the coronavirus emergency, and we owe it to them to do our part by following this statewide stay-home order,” Governor Little added.
The statewide stay-home order is effective immediately and will remain in effect for 21 days. Governor Little and public health officials will evaluate later whether to extend the order past 21 days.
Governor Little made the announcement at Gowen Field, where he visited with the Idaho National Guard personnel he recently mobilized to support civil authorities and local jurisdictions during the coronavirus emergency. At the Governor’s request, the Guardsmen are prepared to stand up a joint task force to provide mobile testing support, transport commodities, provide facilities, tents or other equipment, and other perform other duties as needed in Idaho’s coronavirus response effort. The Idaho Office of Emergency Management, a part of the Idaho Military Division, is the key emergency response planner and coordinator for interagency preparedness in Idaho.
“We will get through this together as long as we all play an active part in fighting the spread of coronavirus. I am proud of Idaho and the way we support and love our neighbors. Let’s keep it up,” Governor Little said.
The statewide stay-home order is being finalized with public health, local officials, and business today and will be available later today at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/.
Monday, March 30
n Idaho is reporting 415 verified cases of COVID-19. No cases have been identified in Franklin County. Other counties with confirmed cases include Bonner (1), Boundary (1), Kootenai (27), Idaho (1), Nez Pece (7), Canyon (48), Gem (3), Owyhee (1), Payette (1), Ada (151), Elmore (1), Valley (1), Blaine (148), Cassia (1), Jerome (1), Lincoln (1), Minidoka (1), Twin Falls (5), Bannock (3), Bingham (1), Bonneville (2), Custer (1), Fremont (1), Jefferson (2), Madison (2), Teton (2). Six deaths have been confirmed in Idaho.
Sunday, March 29
n Idaho is reporting 310 verified cases of COVID-19.
n Bear River Health Department has identified six cases of coronavirus in Cache County.
Saturday, March 28
n Idaho is reporting 261 verified cases of COVID-19.
n Bear River Health Department orders closure of fitness center, spas, entertainment venues, surgery centers in Cache County.
Friday, March 27
n Bear River Health Department has identified five cases of coronavirus in Cache County.
n Idaho is reporting 230 verified cases of COVID-19.
n Utah Gov. Herbert asks Utahs to stay home.
Thursday, March 26
n Idaho is reporting its first deaths due to COVID-19. Two men from Blaine County, one over the age of 80 and one over the age of 60, and another man over the age of 70 from Canyon County. The state has confirmed 189 cases of coronavirus in the state..
Wednesday, March 25
n Idaho has confirmed 123 cases of COVID-19 in the state.
n FCMC Transitional Care (nursing home) unit has banned visitors and is asking family to contact loved ones through video chat.
n FCMC has restricted visitors or caregivers to those over the age of 18 and one per patient.
n Lava Hot Springs has closed for the time being.
n Gov. Little issues state-wide stay-at-home order.
n Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints close to all ordinances worldwide.
n Preston City closes city offices to public except for 12-4 p.m. through the drive-up window. Cancels April 8 P&Z meeting and April 13 council meeting.
n Idaho State Parks remain open for day use recreation but camping will end on Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m., in keeping with stay-at-home order.
Tuesday, March 24
n Idaho has confirmed 73 cases of coronavirus within the state. None in Franklin County.
n The Heritage Home has banned visitors under the age of 18, multiple visitors, and visiting in the public areas. Visitors will be checked for a temperature upon arrival.
The U.S. Census Bureau released initial response rates for every state, county and city across the nation in a news release on Mar. 21. Since invitations began arriving in mailboxes on Mar. 12, 16.7% of households across the country have responded. Franklin County is doing well at 30.8%, and the state of Idaho is at 27.1% overall.
Tami Midzinski, a volunteer for our Frankin County Census, is encouraging everyone to:
1- Watch for a census letter.
2- Go to- https://my2020census.gov/
3- Complete the questions online with their individualized census count number and information.
Citizens may also call or answer by mail.
The Census Bureau is also adjusting its schedule according to recommendations for the coronavirus. With regards to that, in-person contacts and field operations will be suspended until April 1 or later.
The 2020 Census response rate map is an excellent source to follow the results nationwide. The map is updated daily for everyone to see the response rate in any area and compare it to other areas across the nation. It also compares geographically as the results are reported. It can be accessed online at https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html