City of Twin Falls Addresses COVID-19
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)-The city of Twin Falls held a briefing concerning the response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the state Stay-home Order issued by the governor which has been extended to the end of April.
City Manager Travis Rothweiler along with Twin Falls Police Chief Craig Kingsbury and Fire Chief Les Kenworthy addressed the current state of emergency and what each department has seen since the state issued stay-at-home order.
Manager Rothweiler said the city has been under a local emergency declaration since March 23 which is currently still in effect. The declaration opened up a "tool box" for the city to help address the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that there are only about seven people in the City Hall building at any given time with most city employees working from home under a hard lock-down. No employees have been furloughed as of yet, but hiring of new or seasonal employees, such as lifeguards, have been placed on-hold.
As to revenues, Rothweiler said they are noticeably down, especially since the first part of the fiscal year had been robust. Applications for new home construction are considerably down with only two in the last couple of weeks, before there had been dozens. He said the city is using the Great Recession play book as means to navigate the crises. He ended with a call for people to help support local business as much as possible during the stay-at-home order.
As to the Twin Falls Police Department, Chief Kingsbury said the calls for service have been down relatively since the order went into effect, although calls for domestic disputes and DUI have seen an uptick. He said no individual or business has been charged with violating the order, instead he said officers have been talking with people to educate and work it out. Chief Kingsbury said officers may be giving people more leeway when it comes to misdemeanors and won't take people to jail, but those charged with a serious crime are being jailed.
The Twin Falls Fire Department has seen an increase in the calls for service, specifically for calls with flu like symptoms, according to Fire Chief Les Kenworthy. The fire department is taking extra measures to limit exposure of emergency personal to COVID-19 by wearing protective masks and other gear not normally worn on a call. Kenworhty said when someone calls 911 they can expect to answer some more questions about the situation before emergency responders get there. So far, only three firefighters have been exposed to the virus, two early on with one getting sick, and one just recently who is now in self-isolation. Kenworthy noted that they've seen some people exhibiting symptoms out and about that should have stayed home.
See the entire briefing HERE