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COVID-19: Group Sends ID Gov Recommendations for Protecting Vulnerable

Idaho Voices for Children recommends the state immediately distribute protective supplies such as masks to the most vulnerable populations. (David Fuentes/Adobe Stock)
Idaho Voices for Children recommends the state immediately distribute protective supplies such as masks to the most vulnerable populations. (David Fuentes/Adobe Stock)
March 19, 2020

BOISE, Idaho -- As the impacts of the new coronavirus come into view, one Idaho group is asking Gov. Brad Little to act quickly to protect residents and their livelihoods.

Idaho Voices for Children has sent Little a letter with recommendations in four areas: health care, housing, family financial security and child care.

The group's director, Christine Tiddens, says to protect the most vulnerable populations immediately, the state should distribute protective medical supplies, focusing on folks with disabilities, rural and older Idahoans, and Latinx and refugee populations.

"We also are encouraging the state to increase our coronavirus testing and really placing a priority on homeless shelters, food pantries and senior centers to ensure that these vulnerable populations are tested, treated and cared for, if sick," she states.

On Wednesday, Little recommended stricter social distancing guidelines to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

Tiddens says this messaging should be made available in multiple languages.

Idaho Voices for Children wants to see the state add flexibility to requirements for Medicaid and programs such as food stamps so more people can access them; halt evictions and utility shut-offs; and establish a temporary paid sick leave program.

Tiddens says child care also is critical and the state should provide care for essential workers, such as emergency responders.

She says Idaho Voices for Children is worried that a slow response will compound the economic and social damages from this virus.

"We are strongly encouraging the governor to enact our recommended measures immediately, and we drafted them in a way of being really cognizant and aware of what was possible," she stresses.

Tiddens says her group has been working with Little's new Coronavirus Working Group on these issues.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID