BOISE, Idaho — Idaho recently met the criteria to enter the final stage of reopening, but unfortunately, this week has brought on another spike in cases. So how can we keep our numbers low and manage quarantine fatigue?
Dr. Darin Lee, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Saint Alphonsus in Nampa, says it starts by continuing the common sense tips we've heard since March.
"It's going to sound like a broken record, but really, I think it's the fundamentals that make the biggest difference. Social distancing is still very important. Hand hygiene is still very important. Making sure that you're wearing a mask when you're out in public I think is very important," he explains. "I know that seems to be pretty difficult sometimes to do, but with this rising number of cases, we really need to be wearing our masks."
Just last week, Central District Health issued a statement about 10 people that visited several downtown Boise bars. Five people tested positive for COVID-19 while the other five were probable cases. That COVID cluster jumped to 37 people days later, and as of June 18, now includes at least 69 people.
Dr. Lee says there isn't an easy answer when it comes to staying safe if you're planning on going out as just leaving your house to be around the general public means possibly exposing yourself to COVID-19.
"You have to be someone who is not a high-risk person. If you're a high-risk person, you really shouldn't be engaging in activities like going to bars, going to public places, and even if you're a low-risk patient, you could carry that to someone else who could be a high-risk patient," says Dr. Lee.
If you do go out, make sure to follow safety protocols in place at an establishment, practice social distancing and good hygiene, and wear a face mask. If you're heading to a restaurant, wait until you're seated to remove your mask.
Dozens of states across the U.S. are seeing record-setting numbers of cases, putting a major strain on the hospital systems. While Idaho is seeing a spike in cases, Dr. Lee says hospitals here are doing well.
"Some people have said we've been lucky and we haven't had this huge spike in patients, but really I think it's been we've been smart. The governor limited access right away to large gatherings. We had a very strict quarantine that the people of Idaho did a really good job of keeping themselves safe and keeping the hospitals within their capacity," says Dr. Lee. "We've had time now to develop some new protocols and techniques that we can use to make sure we're keeping who potentially have COVID safe from those who probably don't have it."