Submitted by Mayor Marc Carroll
Coronavirus, or specifically COVID-19, has now come to Bingham County. We received word late Friday afternoon that there is now a confirmed case in Bingham County. There are other individuals who have been tested and are in quarantine at home awaiting results from the Lab.
For the last 2 weeks, it feels as though COVID-19 has taken up all my time in meeting attendance, assimilating and evaluating information which comes over the internet, and meeting with various people and discussing actions that are being instituted throughout the City. Last Monday I asked a number of leaders and decision makers in the City to come to City Hall and share ideas and to provide counsel on future actions. If interested in a fuller accounting of that meeting, please go to the City of Blackfoot website for more information. Governor Little invited the State’s mayors to a conference call meeting so that he and his COVID-19 Working Group could provide their insights and recommendations to the Mayors and their Working Groups. I was very impressed by the Governor’s knowledge of the situation across the state and how he articulated his priorities, which are to protect the elderly and the health compromised persons in the state.
City of Blackfoot, as well as many other employers, have taken action to protect staff and the public from potential exposures. I have designated 5 City staff members as the Mayor’s COVID-19 Working Group. City Hall is closed to drop-in visits to the office. Those needing to pay utility bills are asked to use the drop box in front of the building and to consider paying online. Those needing other services, such as applying for permits, site plan review, or planning and zoning questions, are encouraged to phone in and get those questions answered, or we can schedule appointments if needed. Contact information can be received by phoning City Hall at 785-8600. You will wind up accessing a recorded message if one of the staff is not able to answer the phone and speak with you.
I signed out a Declaration of Local Disaster Emergency on March 18, pursuant to Idaho Code 46-1011, which will allow small businesses the ability to apply for State or Federal emergency assistance. Business owners who wish to respond may receive information at https://commerce.idaho.gov/covid-19/ This declaration also allows the City the ability to expend public money without needing to comply with formal bidding procedures. Mayors also have police power authority under State Code to declare and to enforce health or quarantine ordinances or regulations. We are not currently at a point at which I think that action needs to be taken. If you are following the COVID-19 situation around the State, you already know that Blaine County residents are under an isolation order by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, at the direction of Governor Little. Fire Chief Kevin Gray attends daily meetings with Southeast Idaho Public Health Department and receives current information through that meeting. We continue to watch this situation and to receive information and recommendations through State and local public officials.
I encourage everybody to follow the recommendations of the Southeastern Idaho Public Health Department: PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE (wash hands, avoid touching face, sneeze or cough in tissue or elbow) AVOID SOCIAL GATHERINGS OF MORE THAN 10 PEOPLE, AVOID DISCRETIONARY TRAVEL, CONSULT WITH PHYSICIAN IF YOU DISPLAY VIRAL SYMPTOMS (high fever, congestion, and body aches)
I know that City of Blackfoot is a strong community. Please help your families, your neighbors, and your community. Be there for your family members; Be a friend to the neighbor who may need help; Be a volunteer to the community. There are needs for the folks who might have food insecurity, and to elders in the community who might need help at home or with shopping needs, and childcare needs for families in which parents have to work and children may be home due to school closures. There are many agencies in the City which could use volunteer help right now. If you are interested you can contact the City and we can get you in touch with an agency in your area of interest.
Together we will get through this!