Second case of coronavirus confirmed in county

Steve Lyon

A second case of coronavirus in Washington County was confirmed on Monday by the Southwest District Health Department.
 Few details were available on the case, and officials at Southwest District Health said they would not be releasing the gender, age or condition of the individual.
 A spokesperson for Southwest District Health said the agency issues a news release for the first case in each county and will do one for the first death in each county.
 “We have not been releasing demographics or doing a news release for each additional confirmed COVID-19 case,” the official said in an email to the Weiser Signal American.
 Weiser Mayor Randy Hibberd said he was notified by the hospital about the positive case on Monday. He said the number of local cases is still low at two.
 Among Idaho counties that have reported at least one coronavirus case, Washington County is near the bottom in case numbers.
 “We will monitor it if there is spread,” he said.
 The hospital did not administer the test to the person who contracted the coronavirus. Where the test was given was not clear.
 When a local medical provider orders a coronavirus test, the hospital takes the swab sample and sends it to the state lab or a private lab.
 Hibberd said the hospital will be soon ramping up testing capacity and will get the results back quicker.
 The new coronavirus case in the county comes as the state gradually begins to lift restrictions and allows businesses to reopen under the guidelines outlined in Idaho Rebounds.
 The four-stage process to full reopening started on May 1, when 90 percent of businesses were allowed to reopen if they followed the established protocols.
 Stage two starts on May 16 and runs through May 29. The reopening pace and plan depends on meeting criteria based on where the state is with new coronavirus cases.
 Under stage two restaurant dining rooms can reopen once their plans have been submitted for approval by local public health districts. Indoor gyms and recreation facilities can open if they meet business protocols. Hair salons also can open if they can meet the business protocols.
 Public and private gatherings of less than 10 people are allowed if appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures are observed.
 Bars and nightclubs remain closed until the stage four in reopening process, which won’t happen until June, under the state plan.
 Both the city of Weiser and Washington County have not yet completely opened buildings to public.
 Weiser City Hall is allowing one person to enter at a time to do business at the front counter.
 City officials found that conducting business with the city, such as signing up for city utilities, could not be done over the phone.
 Initially, people could make appointments, but that has been relaxed to allow one person inside at a time without an appointment.
 The mayor and city council approved an emergency resolution on March 25 and closed the library and city hall.
 In late April, city officials reopened parks and the fishing pond. There are signs posted at each location that spell out the restrictions still in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. The library could be the next facility to reopen as soon as next week.
 Washington County commissioners also passed an emergency measure and closed all county buildings, including the courthouse. Each Monday since then commissioners have reassessed the precautions in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.
 On Monday, commissioners said they would continue with allowing the public to call and make appointments with county departments in the courthouse through May 15.
 Commissioners suggested they might open up the courthouse when the next stage in the governor’s reopening plan starts.
 County offices in the courthouse have implemented plans to keep employees protected from possible contact with coronavirus, such as installing plexiglass at the counters.

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