Boise-area health board candidate may have exposed others to COVID

Dr. Ryan Cole said in an interview that he had COVID-19 ‘three weeks ago’

By: - September 3, 2021 2:09 pm

The coronavirus is named for its spikes, or “crown.” (Image courtesy of Pixabay)

Update: Elmore County commissioners on Friday afternoon voted 1-2 for Dr. Ryan Cole’s appointment to the Central District Health board. He needed just that one vote for the appointment, after receiving three votes from Boise County commissioners, two from Ada County and one from Valley County.

A pathologist who is up for appointment to a public health board in Idaho’s largest metro area said this week that he had COVID-19 three weeks ago, a timeframe when he was actively traveling and meeting in-person with people without a mask.

Guidance from public health agencies says a person with COVID-19 should self-isolate for 10 days after symptoms first appear. Dr. Ryan Cole’s speaking engagements, travel and early August meeting with Ada County commissioners may have intersected with that time period.

Cole did not respond to phone and text messages seeking clarification or comment.

Cole said in an interview with the website Idaho Dispatch, “I had COVID three weeks ago. I had missed some of my prophylactic doses because I’d been traveling so much. Ended up with a sore throat and a stuffy nose for two days, and I was better.”

The interview appeared to have been recorded early this week. It was posted Wednesday, Sept. 1, and referred to a vote by Elmore County commissioners “coming this week.” That vote will happen at some point after the commissioners’ interview with Cole on Friday afternoon, Sept. 3.

On Tuesday, July 27, Cole spoke at a “White Coat Summit” in San Antonio, Texas. A video recording showed him not wearing a mask.

On Monday, Aug. 9, he interviewed in person with Ada County commissioners at the county courthouse, for the Central District Health board seat. He did not wear a mask.

On Tuesday, Aug. 17, he informed the Sun he couldn’t do an interview because he was boarding a flight. Federal regulations require air passengers to be masked.

On Wednesday, Aug. 18, he spoke at a joint Government Operations committee meeting in Tennessee. A video recording showed Cole not wearing a mask.

Cole’s nomination has been approved by six county commissioners in the Central District Health region. He needs one vote from Elmore County’s three commissioners in order to have his appointment finalized with CDH.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Audrey Dutton
Audrey Dutton

Audrey Dutton, senior investigative reporter, joined the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover include health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Dutton hails from Twin Falls. She attended college at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, radio journalism, data visualization and much more.