Saint Alphonsus officials urge public to heed CDC recommendations

Posted at 9:19 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 11:19:45-04

BOISE, Idaho — As of Thursday morning, Idaho has 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases and local hospital officials are urging the public to make sure to heed health notices.

Chief Medical Officer for Saint Alphonsus Dr. Ryan Heyborne says it's important to not panic and to pay attention to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He says coronavirus is something that's definitely worthy of causing concern, but it's also something the community should band together on and make smart choices to stay safe.

"Try to avoid large areas, large crowds. Try to wash our hands and keep in contact with our health care providers," said Dr. Heyborne. "I'm confident if we do those things, we'll certainly be able to flatten the curve."

Dr. Heyborne says as testing in Idaho continues, we should expect to see the number of confirmed cases rise. He says the focus should be on flattening the curve to make sure the rise in cases isn't a steep one, both here in Idaho and across the country. Dr. Heyborne suggests doing what you can now to keep yourself safe will help stop the increase overall.

As for testing, Saint Alphonsus does have a drive-through screening site running now, but the number of testing kits changes day-to-day. The screening center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the West Cherry Lane location.

"There's limited testing through the state. There's some limited testing through independent labs. We're trying to ramp that testing up throughout the country," says Dr. Heyborne.

He says the test is not for everyone and drive-throughs are meant to be used for screening for possible coronavirus symptoms. Dr. Heyborne says the test isn't beneficial to everyone, and part of the screening is asking if you're suffering from a fever, if you've recently traveled, or if you're experiencing other symptoms. Based on that information, a health care professional would then determine if a COVID-19 test would be beneficial to you or not.

If you believe you have symptoms of coronavirus, call your physician before heading to the hospital. You can also call the Saint Alphonsus hotline to learn more at 208-302-COVD (2083). From there, you can figure out what's best for you as Dr. Heyborne says not everyone will need to go to the hospital or see a health care provider.

For more on coronavirus in Idaho, click here.