Health advisory issued for CJ Strike Reservoir in Owyhee/Elmore Counties; Cascade Reservoir in Valley County being monitored

Photo of CJ Strike Reservoir Harmful Algal Bloom Credit: Idaho DEQ
Photo of CJ Strike Reservoir Harmful Algal Bloom Credit: Idaho DEQ

Public Health Advisory

September 18, 2020

Health advisory issued for CJ Strike Reservoir in Owyhee/Elmore Counties; Cascade Reservoir in Valley County being monitored

Central District Health (CDH), Southwest District Health (SWDH), and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have issued a health advisory for CJ Strike Reservoir due to the presence of a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB). CJ Strike has access points in both Owyhee and Elmore Counties.

Recent water samples taken by DEQ indicate that concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria are present in the CJ Strike Reservoir. These cyanobacteria can be harmful to humans and animals, and those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

Surface water experts have also recently sampled Cascade Reservoir in Valley County for a potential HAB. While test results came back as below the threshold for issuing a health advisory, the reservoir is seeing increased levels of microcystin (a type of cyanotoxin) that warrant users to take precautions. DEQ will continue to monitor Cascade Reservoir.

Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water. Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor.

While blooms can be discovered in one area of recreational water, they can move around to different areas, water depths, and can change in severity. HABs are most common in the summer months through the fall.

When recreating near or in any surface water with a health advisory in effect, take the following precautions for yourself and pets:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water.
  • Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water can increase the risk.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption. If people choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all of the fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean with potable water as soon as possible if water contacts skin or pet fur.

Symptoms of Cyanotoxin Exposure

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider. Wash your pet with clean water and shampoo if it has been around a harmful algal bloom. If it shows symptoms such as vomiting, staggering, drooling or convulsions, contact your vet immediately.

More Information / How to Report a Potential Harmful Algal Bloom

The public will be advised when water testing indicates a HAB is no longer likely to be a concern at CJ Strike Reservoir.

For information on cyanobacteria blooms and a map of recreational water quality health advisories in Idaho, visit www.deq.idaho.gov/recreation-health-advisories. Many harmful algal blooms are identified through public reporting. If you suspect a bloom on a recreational water body in Idaho, report it to DEQ at https://cyanos.org/bloomwatch/.

CJ Strike Reservoir has access points in both Elmore and Owyhee counties. CDH’s jurisdiction includes Elmore County; SWDH’s jurisdiction includes Owyhee County. Valley County’s Cascade Reservoir is located exclusively within CDH’s jurisdiction. For additional photos for download and use, please visit the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s4of5x6am9zju5b/AAAHSZ2nZPg0w841u735jyepa?dl=0

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Central District Health Media Contact

Christine Myron                208.871.1712               cmyron@cdh.idaho.gov

Southwest District Health Media Contact

Katrina Williams                208.455.5317              Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

 

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Gem and Owyhee Counties move to yellow alert level; Payette County remains in the red alert level

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gem and Owyhee Counties move to yellow alert level; Payette County remains in the red alert level

*2nd Amended News Release*

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Earlier this week, Southwest District Health (SWDH) staff reassessed the levels for each county based on data and information available for the date range of August 30, 2020 – September 12, 2020. Gem County and Owyhee County moved from orange to yellow alert levels. Payette County remains in the red alert level. Adams County remains in the gray level. Canyon County and Washington County remain in the orange level.

A brief summary of factors included in determining each county’s health alert level is listed below:

ADAMS COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Gray

Adams County will remain in the gray health alert level, due to a low COVID-19 incidence rate[1]. Adams County saw a daily incidence rate of 0.168 per 10,000 people over the date range analyzed. Only one COVID-19 case was reported during this date range. To protect this individual’s privacy, our public health alert level dashboard will not be available for Adams County.

 CANYON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange

Canyon County will stay in the orange health alert level, with a decreasing COVID-19 daily incidence rate, declining rate of cluster outbreaks, and stability in Canyon County healthcare systems. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 1.65 daily new cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down. Fourteen congregate living facilities are seeing cluster outbreaks[2]. Additionally, healthcare staffing and PPE supplies have stabilized during the date range analyzed. Multiple schools in Canyon County are seeing sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with no known outbreaks.

 GEM COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow

Gem County will move to the yellow health alert level. Gem County currently has a daily incidence rate of 2.13 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending up, but is largely due to an isolated cluster outbreak. This outbreak makes up the vast majority of new cases in Gem County, and is driving many of the metrics typically used to determine risk within a community. SWDH epidemiologists are accounting for this in the decision making process and consider this as low risk to the Gem County community as a whole. Two congregate care facilities are facing sustained COVID-19 outbreaks. 76% of new cases that were contacted knew where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to low risk of community spread.

 OWYHEE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow

Owyhee County will move to the yellow health alert level, due to a decreasing COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as all cluster outbreaks being a result of essential gatherings such as workplace or household exposure. Owyhee County currently has a daily incidence rate of 1.21 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down for the fifth week in a row. One Owyhee County school saw an imported case of COVID-19 with no known outbreaks. Staff and students are taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 PAYETTE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red

Payette County is to remain in the red health alert level, due to a high COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as evidence of sustained community spread. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 3.37 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing. Only 49.37% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread. SWDH epidemiologists are concerned by cluster outbreaks from local workplace settings, as well as household clusters. Payette County schools are seeing sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with no known outbreaks.

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange

Washington County will remain in the orange health alert level, due to a high positivity rate, as well as a high daily incidence rate. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 3.37 daily cases per 10,000 people, which did not change from last week. A very high positivity rate of 20.18% is concerning to SWDH epidemiologists. Washington County schools are not currently seeing any cases within their schools, although some family exposure is resulting in quarantine.

As daily incidence rates across much of the six-county region continue to trend downward, schools continue to be impacted by the virus. In order to comply with appropriate privacy regulations and constraints, Southwest District Health does not release information on cases within schools on a school-specific or building-specific basis but does provide a summary of COVID-19 cases within schools on a county level. Individual schools or school districts determine what information to release regarding cases based on legal counsel advice and constraints of privacy regulations.

As of today, the following information on cases schools is available.

Adams: No current isolation or quarantine
Canyon:  Isolation:  8 students, 3 staff;  Quarantine:  107
Gem:  Isolation:  1 staff
Owyhee:  Isolation:  2 students, 2 staff; Quarantine:  200
Payette:  Isolation:  4 students, 1 staff Quarantine:  13 students
Washington:  Quarantine:  3 students

The number of students quarantined is reflective of the amount of students currently in quarantine on the day the data are pulled and may not account for students who have been released from quarantine or are just entering quarantine.

Across the district, in-person learning is being conducted at twelve school districts, five charter schools, and one private school. Hybrid learning is being conducted in six school districts and two charter schools.

In alignment with CDC recommendations, Southwest District Health staff continue to recommend a 14-day quarantine period for students and all other individuals who have come into close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Some schools are considering advocating for shorter quarantine periods citing other concerns including lost time in the classroom and mental health impacts.

Residents are encouraged to keep practicing preventive measures to help our region stay healthy and stay open. Steps include :

  • Maintain physical distancing and stay six feet apart from people not in your household
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Gather outdoors with a small group
  • Sanitize and wash your hands often
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces often

Information including latest local numbers and data is available on the Southwest District Health website at: https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/.  Please visit https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ for statewide information.

Questions may be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 208-455-5411.

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Media Contacts: 

Katrina Williams            Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
Ashley Anderson          Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

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Canyon County moves to orange health alert level as downward trend in daily incidence rate continues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Canyon County moves to orange health alert level as downward trend in daily incidence rate continues

CALDWELL, IDAHO –Canyon County has moved from the red level to the orange level of the Southwest District Health COVID-19 Health Alert Levels following a continuing downward trend in daily incidence rate. “Canyon County’s daily incidence rate dropped from 6.33 per 10,000 people during the peak of the county’s cases between July 12 and July 25, 2020, to 2.14 per 10,000 people during the most recent date range analyzed which was August 23 through September 5, 2020,” said Rachel Pollreis, SWDH Data Analyst, Senior.

The following chart compares other data from Canyon County’s peak dates of July 12  – July 25, 2020 to the most recently analyzed date range August 23 – September 5, 2020.

Note: Case fatality rate and hospitalization rate are consistent between the two date ranges. This is to be expected as these measures are proportions. Additionally, the percent symptomatic has increased, likely due to limitations on testing, as many facilities are currently only administering tests to symptomatic individuals.

 The health alert levels for the other five counties within Southwest District Health’s boundaries remain unchanged. A brief summary of factors considered during assessment of each county’s health alert levels is listed below:

 ADAMS COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Gray

Adams County will remain in the gray health alert level due to a low COVID-19 incidence rate[1]. Adams County saw a daily incidence rate of 0.168 per 10,000 people over the date range analyzed. Only one COVID-19 case was reported during this date range. To protect this individual’s privacy, our public health alert level dashboard will not be available for Adams County.

CANYON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange

Canyon County will move to the orange health alert level due to a decreasing COVID-19 daily incidence rate, declining rate of cluster outbreaks, and stability in Canyon County healthcare systems. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 2.14 daily new cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down. Fourteen congregate living facilities are seeing cluster outbreaks[2]. Additionally, healthcare staffing and personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies have stabilized during the date range analyzed. Schools in Canyon County are seeing sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with no known outbreaks.

An imported case is defined as a case that is brought into an area (e.g., school, home, workplace, etc.) and not acquired in the area.

GEM COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange

Gem County will remain in the orange health alert level. Gem County currently has a daily incidence rate of 1.30 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending up, but is largely due to an isolated cluster outbreak. This outbreak is driving many of the metrics typically used to determine risk within a community, which SWDH epidemiologists are accounting for in the decision making process. Two congregate care facilities are facing sustained COVID-19 outbreaks. Just over half of patients contacted knew where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread.

OWYHEE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange

Owyhee County will remain in the orange health alert level, due to a decreasing COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as all cluster outbreaks being a result of essential gatherings such as household or workplace clusters. Owyhee County currently has a daily incidence rate of 1.27 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down for the fourth week in a row. Evidence of workplace and household clusters is apparent, but is cause for less concern by epidemiologists.  Owyhee County schools are seeing sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with no known outbreaks. Staff and students are taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

PAYETTE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red

Payette County is to remain in the red health alert level, due to a high COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as evidence of sustained community spread. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 5.07 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing. Only 37.11% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread. SWDH epidemiologists are concerned by cluster outbreaks from local workplace settings, as well as household clusters. Payette County schools are seeing sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with no known outbreaks.

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange

Washington County will remain in the orange health alert level, due to a decrease in non-essential gatherings resulting in cluster outbreaks, as well as an increasing percentage of individuals with a known source. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 3.37 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is increasing from last week. Cluster outbreaks in congregate living facilities and essential gatherings, such as households and workplaces, are concerning to SWDH epidemiologists. Washington County schools are seeing sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with one school experiencing an outbreak among staff.

Despite Canyon County’s decreased health alert level and continuing downward trend in daily incidence rates across much of its region, Southwest District Health District Director Nikki Zogg urges residents to continue to follow preventive measures to help our region stay healthy and stay open. Steps include :

  • Maintain physical distancing and stay six feet apart from people not in your household
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Gather outdoors with a small group
  • Sanitize and wash your hands often
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces often

“I am grateful to our many residents and community partners who have really stepped up and made the effort to protect themselves and those around them. I also applaud our districts’ business owners as well who have done a great job implementing measures to protect their staff and customers,” Zogg said.

Southwest District Health staff continue to add data for each county on the SWDH COVID-19 website at https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/. Slight differences in the numbers between the SWDH data and the data posted at the State’s website are due to different times data is pulled or updated. All COVID-19 cases in Idaho are reported to a centralized database which is run by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW). This database is constantly being updated by state, local and private entities as new lab reports, investigations, and hospital records are added.

Questions may be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 208-455-5411. Please refer to https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/ for the latest local numbers and data and https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ for statewide information.

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Media Contacts: 

Katrina Williams            Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
Ashley Anderson          Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

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First COVID-19 Related Death Confirmed in Adams County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

First COVID-19 Related Death Confirmed in Adams County

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health (SWDH) has reported the first Adams County COVID-19-related death in a male in his 70s who had been hospitalized with underlying health complications. To date, the six-county region served by Southwest District Health has seen a total of 101 COVID-19 related deaths.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with those impacted by these recent COVID-19 deaths,” said District Director Nikki Zogg.

Southwest District Health urges all residents to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes practicing physical distancing, wearing face coverings in public places where social distancing is hard to maintain, washing hands often, staying home when sick, and regularly sanitizing often touched surfaces.

Questions may be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 208-455-5411. Please refer to https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/ for the latest local numbers and data and https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ for statewide information.

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Media Contacts: 

Katrina Williams            Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
Ashley Anderson           Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

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Southwest District Health shares information used for most recent county health alert level determination; encourages preventive actions for upcoming holiday weekend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health shares information used for most recent county health alert level determination; encourages preventive actions for upcoming holiday weekend

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health (SWDH) staff have noticed a slight downward trend in the daily incidence rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases across its six-county region of Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington counties.  As the holiday weekend approaches, public health staff encourage residents to continue their efforts to slow the spread and avoid an increase in daily incidence rates as was noted following Memorial Day and Fourth of July holiday weekends.

Steps to follow this weekend to enjoy a safe, healthy Labor Day holiday weekend include:

  • Maintain physical distancing and stay six feet apart from people not in your household
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Gather outdoors with a small group
  • Sanitize and wash your hands often
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces often

“Many thanks to the businesses and residents who are doing their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said District Director Nikki Zogg. Staff remain hopeful that the downward trend in cases continues and counties can move to lower levels on the SWDH COVID-19 Health Alert Level system. Health alert levels for each county were re-evaluated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020. For the data range of August 16, 2020 – August 29, 2020 the following information was used to determine the categorizations for each county.

ADAMS COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Gray

Adams County remains in the gray health alert level due to a low COVID-19 incidence rate of 0.504 per 10,000 people over the date range analyzed. Additionally, no positive cases were reported in Adams County during the last week analyzed. Decision makers in Adams County school districts are taking a cautious approach to resuming in person learning.

CANYON COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Red

Canyon County remains in the red health alert level due to a high COVID-19 daily incidence rate, and concerns raised by epidemiologists regarding cluster outbreaks and strain on the healthcare system. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 2.576 daily new cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down. Fourteen congregate living facilities are seeing cluster outbreaks[1]. Additionally, healthcare staff shortages, and 52 healthcare workers testing positive for COVID-19 during the date range analyzed is concerning to SWDH epidemiologists and healthcare officials.

GEM COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Orange

Gem County remains in the orange health alert level. Gem County currently has a daily incidence rate of 0.828 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down for the third week consecutively. Two congregate care facilities are facing sustained COVID-19 outbreaks. Additionally, cluster outbreaks from essential gatherings (workplace clusters and household clusters) are concerning SWDH epidemiologists. Only half of patients contacted knew where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread.

OWYHEE COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Orange

Owyhee County remains in the orange health alert level due to a decreasing COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as all cluster outbreaks being a result of essential gatherings. Owyhee County currently has a daily incidence rate of 1.45 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down for the third week in a row. Evidence of workplace and household clusters is apparent, but is cause for less concern by epidemiologists.

PAYETTE COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Red

Payette County remains in the red health alert level, due to a rapidly increasing COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as evidence of sustained community spread. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 6.173 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is continuing to increase. Only 48.59% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread. SWDH epidemiologists are concerned by cluster outbreaks from local workplace settings, after school extra-curricula’s, as well as non-essential gatherings. Many school boards and decision makers are taking rapid responsive action to mitigate risk of COVID-19 to staff and students.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Orange

Washington County has moved to the orange health alert level due to a decreasing COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as a decrease is non-essential gatherings resulting in cluster outbreaks. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 2.531 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down. Cluster outbreaks in congregate living facilities and essential gatherings are concerning to SWDH epidemiologists. Only 50.64% of cases report knowing where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread.

 In addition to the above trends, some of the schools within SWDH have been impacted by COVID-19. Although SWDH does not release case specific information for schools the following information is available:

  • Canyon County:  9 students positive, 2 staff positive, 3 students on quarantine
  • Payette County: 8 students positive, 1 staff positive, 30 student athletes on quarantine, 2 students on quarantine
  • Washington County :  3 students positive, 4 staff positive, 2 students on quarantine
  • Owyhee County:  1 student positive
  • In person learning being conducted in:  10 school districts, 5 charter schools, 1 private
  • Hybrid (combination of in person and online learning) being conducted in:  5 school districts, 1 Charter School

The data dashboard available on the SWDH COVID-19 website at https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/ includes information on confirmed and probable cases and deaths for each county within its district. The dashboard also includes case characteristics by city and county, daily incidence rate by zip code, positivity rate calculations and health care capacity information. As of yesterday, September 3, 2020 the data used for the “COVID-19 Cases in Southwest Idaho” chart displayed on the website will align with the data for the data dashboard. Previously, data posted to the chart aligned with the numbers posted each evening on the State of Idaho’s website available at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov. Slight differences in the numbers between the SWDH data and the data posted at the State’s website are due to different times data is pulled or updated. All COVID-19 cases in Idaho are reported to a centralized database which is run by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW). This database is constantly being updated by state, local and private entities as new lab reports, investigations, and hospital records are added.

Questions may be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 208-455-5411. Please refer to https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/ for the latest local numbers and data and https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ for statewide information.

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Media Contacts: 

Katrina Williams            Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
Ashley Anderson          Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

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Health advisory issued for Lake Lowell

Public Health Advisory

Health advisory issued for LAKE LOWELL

CANYON COUNTY, ID — Southwest District Health and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are issuing a health advisory for LAKE LOWELL, urging residents to use caution when recreating in or near the water.

Spatial distribution and density of cells indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water. Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor.

When recreating near or in LAKE LOWELL, take the following precautions while the advisory is in effect:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water.
  • Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water can increase the risk.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption. If people choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all of the fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean with potable water as soon as possible if water contacts skin or pet fur.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider.

The public will be advised when it is likely the concern no longer exists.

Lake Lowell is part of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/recreation-health-advisories/

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DEQ Media Contact

Emily Washburne              208.373.0550             Emily.Washburne@deq.idaho.gov

SWDH Media Contact

Katrina Williams                208.455.5317              Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Southwest District Health responds to comments regarding hydroxychloroquine use for treatment of COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health responds to comments regarding hydroxychloroquine use for treatment of COVID-19

CALDWELL, IDAHO – In response to comments made during a recent Southwest District Board of Health meeting, Southwest District Health Medical Director, Clay Roscoe, MD, MPH, has provided a statement regarding evidence on hydroxychloroquine use for treatment of COVID-19.

“In summary, hydroxychloroquine is a relatively well-tolerated drug, based on clinical data from many years of use with malaria prophylaxis and management of rheumatologic conditions. However, “based on the review of the available evidence today, and guidance provided by the CDC, FDA, WHO and American College of Physicians, as of August 11, 2020, there is not enough quality evidence to demonstrate that hydroxychloroquine has a clear benefit with treating COVID-19. Furthermore, when using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, there is evidence of at least moderate harm, including a small chance that the person being treated with hydroxychloroquine may have an increased risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm and liver damage, and possibly an increased risk of death,” said Roscoe.

Presently, three large, in-progress randomized controlled trials evaluating hydroxychloroquine have been stopped early due to lack of efficacy in preliminary analyses. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently revoked its emergency use authorization for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 due to potential significant harms and lack of benefits.

Science is an ever-learning, ever-developing process. More trials will be completed on the use of this and other medications for possible use with treating COVID-19. It will continue to be necessary to evaluate these results using an unbiased, scientific, logical approach in order to continue to make the best decisions about the best treatment approaches for COVID-19,” added Roscoe.

Southwest District Health acknowledges that its Board of Health members share varied opinions on this topic. Southwest District Health District Director, Nikki Zogg, encourages communities to understand that other than the Board of Health’s physician representative, each Board of Health member represents their county’s constituents.  “Southwest District Health’s Board of Health is comprised of a physician representative and one representative from each of the six counties in the district – Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington. Each county’s representative is designated by that county’s Board of County Commissioners and confirmed by the other five Board of County Commissioners. The personal opinions of the members of the Board of Health may not align with or reflect the guidance and recommendations provided by Southwest District Health,” said Zogg.

Individuals may direct comments or concerns for Board of Health members by email to: boh@phd3.idaho.gov

Southwest District Health urges all residents to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes practicing physical distancing, wearing face coverings in public places where social distancing is hard to maintain, washing hands often, staying home when sick, and regularly sanitizing often touched surfaces.

Questions may be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 208-455-5411. Please refer to https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/ for the latest local numbers and data and https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ for statewide information.

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Media Contacts: 

Katrina Williams          Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
Ashley Anderson          Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

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First COVID-19 Related Deaths Confirmed in Gem and Owyhee Counties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

First COVID-19 Related Deaths Confirmed in Gem and Owyhee Counties

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health (SWDH) has reported the first Gem County COVID-19-related death in a female in her 80s with underlying health complications. Southwest District Health is also reporting the first Owyhee County COVID-19-related death in a male in his 80s who had been hospitalized. No further information will be released.  To date, the six-county region served by Southwest District Health has seen a total of 51 deaths.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with those impacted by these recent COVID-19 deaths,” said District Director Nikki Zogg.

Southwest District Health urges all residents to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes practicing physical distancing, wearing face coverings in public places where social distancing is hard to maintain, washing hands often, staying home when sick, and regularly sanitizing often touched surfaces.

Questions may be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 208-455-5411. Please refer to https://phd3.idaho.gov/coronavirus for the latest local numbers and data and https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ for statewide information.

# # #

Media Contacts: 

Katrina Williams          Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
Ashley Anderson          Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

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Southwest District Health shares interim criteria for movement between health alert levels

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health shares interim criteria for movement between health alert levels

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health has shared interim criteria for moving between levels of its recently published Southwest District Health COVID-19 Health Alert Level System. The criteria will be used to guide Southwest Distirct Health when making decisions to move counties to a higher or lower alert level. These will be data-driven decisions that aim to provide residents with timely and accurate information. “This system will be an effective tool for our entire community as our residents seek information to minimize their risk of exposure where they live, work, and play,” said Nikole Zogg, Southwest District Health Director. This COVID-19 health alert system is available in English and Spanish at: https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/#1594683890043-dd9a7ad1-a2c3

Health Alert Levels for each county will be reviewed on Mondays based on the prior two weeks’ data (qualitative and quantitative data points), starting on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday. At least two full weeks will be spent in a Health Alert Level before determinations to move to a lower less severe level (e.g., from High to Medium).

Southwest District Health is also working with schools as they develop and implement plans for the upcoming school year. In addition to consultation with Southwest Distirct Health, schools are using the Idaho Back to School Framework available at: https://boardofed.idaho.gov/resources/idaho-back-to-school-framework-2020/ to guide their decisions. The Framework uses level of community disease transmission to assist schools in determining the safest level of operation. Southwest District Health has crosswalked the Framework developed by the State Board of Education with the district’s Health Alert Levels to assist them in their decision making.

To help decision makers, parents, and residents easily use the two systems, Southwest District Health has cross-walked the Idaho Back to school Framework with the COVID-19 Health Alert Level advisory.

Questions may be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 call center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 208-455-5411. Please refer to https://phd3.idaho.gov/coronavirus for the latest local numbers and data and https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ for statewide information.

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Media Contacts: 

Katrina Williams            Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
Ashley Anderson          Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

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Amended Health advisory issued for BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

Public Health Advisory

Amended Health advisory issued for BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

Southwest District Health (SWDH) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are issuing an amended health advisory for BROWNLEE RESERVOIR. New information indicates harmful algal bloom areas have expanded on Brownlee Reservoir. Visitors should be aware of areas previously outside of the original advisory issued on July 10, 2020 which was for the area of Woodhead Park. Residents are urged to use caution when recreating in or near the water.

Recent reports and updated satellite imagery from the water bodies indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water. Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor.

When recreating near or in HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR and BROWNLEE RESERVOIR, take the following precautions while the advisory is in effect:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water.
  • Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water can increase the risk.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption. If people choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all of the fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean with potable water as soon as possible if water contacts skin or pet fur.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider.

The public will be advised when it is likely the concern no longer exists.

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/recreation-health-advisories/

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DEQ Media Contact

Chase Cusack                        208.373.0550             Chase.Cusack@deq.idaho.gov

SWDH Media Contact

Katrina Williams                208.455.5317               Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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