WATCH: Rural Health Response to COVID-19 webinar

The Western Governors’ Association hosted the webinar, Rural Health Response to COVID-19, on Friday, April 24.

Rural western communities face particular public health challenges and vulnerabilities as they manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Idaho's Blaine County was an early hot spot of COVID-19 cases and in mid-March had one of the country’s highest per capita infection rates. Its hospital, with just two ICU beds and one ventilator, was forced to temporarily close. (Learn more in this Buzzfeed story.)

This webinar featured Blaine County leaders explaining how they responded to the crisis and continue to manage the spread of coronavirus. Attendees learned lessons from their experience, including unexpected challenges, strategies for implementing a coordinated response, and what the next phases of management and recovery will look like.

The conversation provided a forum for states, local officials and rural healthcare stakeholders to learn from Blaine County's experience. Panelists included:

  • Dr. Terry O’Connor, Blaine County/Sawtooth Regional EMS Director and Emergency Physician, St Lukes Wood River Hospital
  • Jacob Greenberg, Commissioner & Chairman, Blaine County
  • Melody Bowyer, Executive Director, South Central Public Health District

The webinar was part of a series in conjunction with the Reimagining the Rural West Initiative of WGA Chair and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. The Chairman’s Initiative is examining challenges and opportunities in rural economic development, infrastructure and quality of life across the region.

Get the latest news of the West and the Western Governors' Association by following the WGA on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

sign up for our newsletters