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Coronavirus

Hospitals Are Full But Some Parts of Idaho Refuse Mask Rules

October 23, 2020

BOISE, Idaho — A regional health board in northern Idaho has voted narrowly to repeal a local mask mandate, acting moments after hearing how the region’s hospital has been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and is looking at sending people as far away as Seattle for care.

The board heard Thursday that the hospital in Coeur d’Alene reached 99% capacity the previous day, even after doubling up patients in rooms and buying more beds. The board in Kootenai County then voted 4-3 to end the mask mandate. Kootenai is the third most populous county in conservative Idaho.

Gov. Brad Little has left it up to local health departments and school districts to decide on what restrictions, if any, are needed for the coronavirus pandemic.

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