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Idaho National Guard to help Primary Health clinics with testing, screening

Primary Health Medical Group building front
Posted at 11:22 AM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 13:28:13-05

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho National Guard will be at multiple Primary Health clinics helping with testing and screening for COVID-19. Governor Brad Little announced the National Guard would be helping with COVID-19 at his last press conference.

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“On a daily basis, many of our staff are unable to work due to illness or exposure to COVID-19 through community spread. This puts us at risk of having to turn patients away or delay care,” said Dr. David Peterman, Primary Health CEO. “This is a critical time for our community and it is essential we test as many people as possible for coronavirus in order to understand how and where it is spreading. We are incredibly grateful to the National Guard for helping us keep our clinics running smoothly, so we can safely take care of our patients.”

Primary Health said in a news release that the group has administered more than 60,000 COVID-19 tests in the Treasure Valley since March. The National Guard will fill triage-type roles, so Primary Health staff can focus on technical aspects of patient care.

"The Idaho National Guard stands ready to support our community and front line healthcare workers as we continue the fight against COVID-19," said Brig. Gen. Russel Johnson, director of the Joint Staff, Idaho National Guard. "Although this crisis is unlike past emergencies like floods and fires, our mission to help the citizens of Idaho remains a top priority."

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On Sunday, Idaho health officials reported nearly 600 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the state's total number of cases closer to 80,000. No new deaths were reported on Sunday.

According to the Idaho Statesman, at least one health district did not report numbers, contributing to the lower case count.