Idaho Announces Need For More Testing, Contact Tracing

May 22, 2020

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch talks about coronavirus testing at a Friday briefing with Governor Brad Little.
Credit Idaho Public Television

 

An Idaho task force says the state needs to continue to increase its capacity for testing more people for the coronavirus.

The task force released its recommendations today [Friday].

“The primary challenge that we’re facing right now is regular and steady access to testing materials," said Dr. Christopher Ball, the bureau chief of the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories.

“The testing demand for this pandemic response is unprecedented. And manufacturers of scientific equipment have done everything they possibly can to try to increase their manufacturing capacity. With that being said, the demand for those products has far outstripped the ability to distribute those to places where it’s in need, including Idaho," he said.

Ball proposes creating five priority levels for testing. At the top of the pyramid is health care workers who have Covid symptoms and residents of nursing homes. At the next level are the inmates and employees of the state’s correctional facilities.

Governor Brad Little says the state needs to also step up its contact tracing abilities. He says Idaho is on its way to having 500 people who can do those duties.