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Idaho residents mostly slowed travel Thanksgiving Day

| December 8, 2020 2:30 PM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Transportation officials in Idaho have reported that highway and interstate traffic volumes on Thanksgiving Day were down in most of the state except eastern Idaho.

Data from the state Department of Transportation shows about 20% fewer cars in northern Idaho and about 8% fewer cars near the Oregon state line compared to 2019, Boise State Public Radio reported.

However, traffic headed south to Utah increased by 23% on Interstate 84 near the border and about 5% on Interstate 15, officials said. Vehicle counts on state highways were also up in eastern Idaho compared to last year.

Department spokesman Jake Melder said that overall Thanksgiving traffic volumes — lower overall in southwest, south-central and northern Idaho, and higher in eastern Idaho — mirror current non-holiday traffic trends.

Many hospitals across the state were overwhelmed before the holiday because of COVID-19, health officials said. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.