When will Idaho move to Stage 4 of reopening?

Posted at 3:45 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 10:59:00-04

All of us have asked it by now, when will things go back to normal? The answer isn’t as easy as you might think.

Idaho is seeing a decline in COVID-19 cases and positivity rate, and officials have been talking about the state returning to normal and what that could look like. However, they say moving too fast could set everything back.

During the Department of Health and Welfare’s weekly media briefing, State Epidemiologist Christine Hahn said Gov. Brad Little asked for a set of metrics to be created to help indicate Idaho potentially moving toward a sense of “normalcy.” Hahn says the state epidemiology team is already working on this.

“As you can imagine it will include things like the number of folks who have gotten vaccinated, the number of cases, the number of folks in the hospital, those kinds of things,” Hahn said. “We hope to have something in the next few weeks to show the governor about that.”

Moving through the governor's reopening plan pushes the state closer to “normalcy.” The guidelines for stages are based on the incident rate per 100,000 cases in the state, plus input from public health experts and metrics that show the state's current standing against the virus.

“We do look at those metrics every two weeks with the governor and we are in the process of adding additional metrics which are really around vaccinations, which is a really good metric so we can continue to move forward,” Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said.

During the bi-weekly AARP call with Gov. Little, a caller asked when the state could see a move from the current Stage 3 of the reopening plan to Stage 4.

“I would say that the likelihood of us, at the current trajectory of people getting vaccinated, of our numbers being ok, we’ll be able to go into Stage 4 right away because there's really not a lot of things that are happening in Stage 3 that wouldn’t happen in Stage 4,” Little said.

So far, over half a million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the state and the next priority group including Idahoans ages 55-64 with no medical conditions opens Monday, March 22.