Idaho officials warn of possible coronavirus exposure at bars in downtown Boise

Heads up, Idaho residents: If you’ve been to certain bars in Boise recently, you may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, local health officials warned this week.

The Central District Health said in a news release on Thursday that they are investigating a “cluster” of COVID-19 cases involving about 10 people who, last Friday and Saturday, June 5 and June 6, visited “multiple bars while infectious in downtown Boise.”

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“Five of the individuals tested positive for COVID-19; five are considered probable cases,” officials said, noting probable cases include individuals “who are close contacts to confirmed cases and who become symptomatic but are not tested.”

The risk of exposure is “unknown,” officials said, meaning anyone who visited certain bars on the same days as the infected individuals or “spent time in the area of 6th and Main during the evening hours on June 5 and 6” should monitor themselves for signs of the COVID-19.

Symptoms often include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell, and typically appear two to 14 days following exposure — meaning the incubation period will likely end around June 20, they said.

"Any interaction with others, particularly in close contact, puts us at greater risk for becoming infected with coronavirus,” said Russ Duke, district director for Central District Health, in a statement.

"Any interaction with others, particularly in close contact, puts us at greater risk for becoming infected with coronavirus,” said Russ Duke, district director for Central District Health, in a statement. (iStock)

“If you experience any COVID-like symptoms, contact your health care provider,” per health officials.

“As Idaho continues to reopen, illness clusters like this one are a reminder that COVID-19 is still very present in our communities. It is especially important that we find our new normal, which needs to include wearing face coverings especially in situations where sufficient physical distancing isn’t possible and continuing to look for ways to limit face-to-face exposure. Any interaction with others, particularly in close contact, puts us at greater risk for becoming infected with coronavirus,” said Russ Duke, district director for Central District Health, in a statement.

Through contact tracing efforts, officials said the individuals may have exposed others at the following establishments:

  • Amsterdam Lounge – 609 W. Main St., Boise  
  • Cactus Bar – 517 W. Main St., Boise  
  • Humpin’ Hannah’s – 621 Main St., Boise  
  • Silly Birch – 507 W. Main St., Boise  
  • StrangeLove – 100 S. 6th St., Boise  
  • Tom Grainey’s – 109 S. 6th St., Boise

The news comes as more than a dozen states and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico have reportedly recorded their highest averages of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic first hit the U.S. Hospitalizations in at least nine states have also increased since Memorial Day.

More specifically, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah, as well as  Puerto Rico, have recorded their highest seven-day average increases in new cases since the start of the pandemic.

Increasing numbers also led the country's top infectious disease expert this week to issue a warning as states continue to steadily reopen.

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“When you open, not everything is OK — you can’t do whatever you want [and] still need to practice a degree of caution,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Wednesday morning appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

All citizens “should still wear a mask, try to have physical distancing [from others], washing hands as often as you can, and avoid congregation in large numbers,” he continued, reiterating the best health practices experts have been stressing for months. “Even though everyone wants to approach normality and get things back to normal, it doesn't mean all bets are off. So that's why we say be careful and be prudent."