Update on today’s East Idaho Public Health board meeting on the district’s response to covid-19:
Two medical professionals presented on current mental health challenges Idahoans are experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic and shared resource information. The most harm is being seen in the young adult age range. Their conclusion is that compliance with public health recommendations like mask wearing, is the key to returning to normal life. Additionally, the contention is having a significant impact, so it’s important for both sides to present their case with civility. Presentation on mental health is available to the public.
Dr. Nelson, the physician representative of the board, said “Mitigation strategies are here to stay.” Another county commissioner asked if they should consider hiring staff to read and answer the large number of emails they are getting from the public in an attempt to be more responsive.
There was a recommendation to create an unbiased task force in an attempt to find compromise solutions that achieve the objectives of both sides.
A brief review was conducted of COVID-19 related data from the various counties and hospitals within the district, as well as a report from hospitals regarding how full their facilities are. One new county (Lemhi) entered the orange moderate risk level, joining Madison county, with Bonneville and Fremont counties on the brink of orange.
EIPH director Geri Rackow said she still believes there are additional revisions that should be made to the regional response plan, but stated that she wasn’t ready to present those revisions today. She said they would be addressed at the next board meeting.
Chairman of the board (also a Bonneville county commissioner) Bryon Reed said they may have a meeting next week or in two weeks, but they would need a few days to decide on a date.
Brent Mendenhall (Madison county commissioner) and Shayne Young (Jefferson County commissioner) both stressed the importance of joint coordination from people on both sides of the regulation issue, with commissioner Young referencing a viewpoint of “hey let’s pretend Covid’s not here.”
Lindsey Zea is a Policy and Research Associate with the Madison Liberty Institute. Lindsey holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from BYU-Idaho and loves finding applications of history to current events and political debates. She also serves as a Policy Analyst with the Better Cities Project (BCP) and formerly interned with the Libertas Institute in Utah.