As confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in Blaine County, a doctor and vice president of medical affairs for the St. Luke's Health System in Wood River, Jerome and Twin Falls spent some time with 6 On Your Side anchor Don Nelson to discuss why the outbreak hit Blaine County and what it will mean for containing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"Social isolation is the key, keeping it from spreading," said Dr. Joshua Kern. "If you show any symptoms, and really if you're not showing symptoms, we need to stay apart from people, especially in the Wood River Valley where we know it has already been spreading."
Kern says part of what's making the situation worse is because people aren't taking the situation seriously enough.
"This is an unprecedented event in the history of the world that I've lived in," Kern said. "We're hoping to slow the spread and kind of, what we call bend the curve to prevent our healthcare systems from getting overwhelmed. And we got kind of a preview of that in how quickly both providers and workers in the hospital in Wood River got exposed and had to go into quarantine, themselves, which is why we ended up closing the hospital up there to in-patient work."
But even as the cases of COVID-19 grow and are expected to continue to do so for an undetermined period, Kern expressed pride in the doctors, nurses and medical staff putting their own safety at risk.
"I couldn't be more proud of everybody that works for St. Luke's right now," said Kern. "Everyone has pulled together, has stayed really positive. I've never seen people more willing to step forward and I couldn't be more proud of our providers."