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Magic Valley elected officials respond to rising COVID-19 concerns

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Posted at 6:35 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 09:02:37-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The majority of the Magic Valley is at the critical risk level for COVID-19 cases, and all local hospitals are reporting critical impact because of staffing cases.

Statewide, the National Guard is now directing hundreds of new medical personnel to help Idaho hospitals overwhelmed with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. Magic Valley officials are also worried about what’s going to happen in the fall and winter.

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“Certainly, we know that the numbers are up and that’s affecting our citizens,” said Twin Falls County Commissioner Don Hall. “I have friends that are in the hospital. “

Hall said he wants all citizens to use their conscience and respect each other's choices.

Hall adds the divisiveness regarding coronavirus precautions is not serving anyone well.

“I think really the push back with a lot of folks that I talk to are with the mandates,” said Hall. "Suggestions or recommendations a lot of folks take better, but when they are told they have to do something, you know, we live in a free society and we hold freedom very very precious.”

Related: St. Luke's high capacity poses challenge for staff

Hall said nobody likes being told what to do so we may need to go heavier on giving recommendations and facts surrounding COVID-19.

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“I’m now hearing from constituents and or their loved ones who have been denied critical care when they needed it the most because many of those beds are now taken by COVID patients who have chosen not to be vaccinated,” said Idaho District 25 Representative Laurie Lickley.

Laurie Lickley said she encourages others to not use what she calls "Doctor Google" to affirm their opinions on any health care services. Instead, she goes to the source and speaks directly with health care providers.

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“It’s completely preventable,” said Lickley. “We could have tackled this this spring when vaccinations were made available to most of the general public. We really could have gotten a better handle on it and we did not and I think we are seeing the ramifications of that now, and I hope that people will take time and visit with their health care professionals about the safety and efficacy of a vaccination that is showing that it is very effective at preventing coronavirus. “

It was also announced Wednesday that as Idaho ICUs fill to capacity, 29 health care groups representing thousands of health care providers have released a joint letter to ask Idahoans for their assistance to combat the current COVID-19 surge.