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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Southwest District Health Special Board of Health Meeting Rescheduled

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health Special Board of Health Meeting Rescheduled

CALDWELL, IDAHO – The Southwest District Health Board of Health will hold a Special Board of Health meeting on Thursday, July 23, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. at the Canyon County Courthouse, Courtroom 140, 1115 Albany Street, Caldwell, ID, 83605. The meeting room will have limited seating and will allow for social distancing. Face coverings will be available for those who choose to wear one. The meeting will be available for live streaming at the SWDH YouTube page.

Please note public comments will not be taken during the Special Board of Health meeting on Thursday, July 23, 2020. Public comments specific to an agenda item for the July 23, 2020, meeting can be submitted at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BOHpubliccomment07212020. The period to submit public comments will close at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Comments will be compiled and shared with Board of Health members in advance of the meeting and an overview presented at the Special Board of Health meeting.

This Board meeting was initially scheduled for Thursday, July 17, 2020 and was canceled due to safety concerns. The meeting was rescheduled for today, Tuesday, July 21, 2020 and yesterday a cancellation notice was issued to allow adequate time to ensure all security concerns have been addressed.

The agenda has been simplified from earlier this week to dispel public speculation about the Board of Health’s intent to impose a mandatory mask order. The agenda includes action items to allow Board members to provide recommendations to Southwest District Health and communities regarding strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19 and limit exposure to high risk populations. The recommendations Board of Health members will consider at the Special Board of Health meeting will link to the Southwest District Health COVID-19 Health Alert Level system the public health district recently rolled out. This risk assessment system was developed with input from Southwest District Health Board of Health members and county emergency managers to provide community-specific information about risk for exposure to COVID-19 and recommendations for limiting risk of exposure in areas across the public health district. “The hope for this system is that it will be an effective tool our entire community can use to stay informed of the risk level and applicable measures they can take to minimize risk of exposure where they live, work, and play,” said Nikki Zogg, Southwest District Health District Director. The health alert level system can be found on the Southwest District Health website at:  https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19-2/#1594683890043-dd9a7ad1-a2c3.

During informational discussion at the Special Board of Health meeting on July 7, 2020, Board members provided feedback to the Southwest District Health Director indicating mandatory face coverings or business closures would not be public health strategies the Board of Health would consider under the current situation.

At the meeting on July 7, 2020, Board of Health members encouraged preventive measures, common sense, and personal responsibility. Board of Health members also acknowledged there are many susceptible or vulnerable folks who know how to take care of and protect themselves as well as many residents who will make the effort to protect those around them without being required to do so. Minutes from the July 7, 2020, Board of Health meeting will be approved at the regularly scheduled Board of Health meeting to be held Tuesday, July 28, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. at the SWDH Caldwell facility and will be posted to the Southwest District Health website following that approval.

Questions may be directed to the Southwest District Health 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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Southwest District Health Special Board of Health Meeting Cancelled; Will Be Rescheduled

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health Special Board of Health Meeting Cancelled; Will Be Rescheduled

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Due to continued security concerns and to ensure the meeting is as safe and accessible as possible the Southwest District Health Special Board of Health meeting scheduled for Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. at the Canyon County Administration Building, 111 N. 11th Avenue, Caldwell, ID, 83605 has been canceled. The meeting will be rescheduled for a date and time to be determined.

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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Southwest District Health Special Board of Health Meeting Rescheduled

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health Special Board of Health Meeting Rescheduled

CALDWELL, IDAHO – The Southwest District Health Board of Health will hold a special meeting via video conference on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. at the Canyon County Administration Building, 111 N. 11th Avenue, Caldwell, ID, 83605. The meeting room will accommodate seating for approximately 20 people. Social distancing will be required and masks must be worn. Any person who does not wish to social distance or wear a mask will not be allowed to enter and is invited to observe the meeting through live streaming. No outdoor viewing option will be available. The meeting will be available for live streaming at the SWDH YouTube page. The meeting agenda can be found at: https://phd3.idaho.gov/boh/boh-agendas/.

Due to safety concerns for members of the public and SWDH employees, live streaming of the Special Board of Health meeting via video conference will not be available at any of the SWDH locations.

No public comments will be accepted during the Special Board of Health meeting on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Public comments specific to an agenda item for the July 21, 2020, meeting can be submitted at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BOHpubliccomment07212020. The period to submit public comments will close at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 20, 2020. Comments will be compiled and shared with board members in advance of the meeting and an overview presented at the Special Board of Health meeting.

Note: Due to COVID-19, Board of Health meetings for the remainder of 2020 will be held via video conference unless otherwise noted.

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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Further details regarding Board of Health meeting cancellation provided

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Further details regarding Board of Health meeting cancellation provided

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health’s Board of Health cancelled the special Board of Health meeting scheduled for today due to safety concerns. The meeting will be rescheduled at a later date to be determined. The Zoom video recording will not be available for public viewing from Thursday, July 16, 2020 as the Board of Health meeting was not called to order or started.

Prior to the start of the Board meeting, a group of protesters gathered at the entrance to the SWDH Caldwell building demanding to physically attend the meeting in the same room as Board members and to be allowed the ability to make public comment. The group was not denied access to the building, but was asked to follow a requirement for screenings and face coverings (for all Southwest District Health buildings) that all staff and customers abide by when entering the building for services and daily operations. Southwest District Health had clients in the clinic and the building was open to the public.

After refusing to adhere to screening guidelines, some of the group pushed their way into the building’s foyer and attempted to proceed to the Board meeting room. The protestors remained far away from the meeting room where the Board Members were physically present, but were interrupting clinical services and potentially violated HIPAA protocols. The protestors did not enter the Board of Health meeting room. ​

The majority of the protesters were directed to a meeting room able to provide physical distancing measures for those in attendance and were respectful while waiting to view the meeting.  A small group of those gathered were armed and continued to create disruptions in the facility’s foyer, harassed staff in the parking lot, and peered into the building windows scaring staff who were working.

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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Health advisories issued for HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR and BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

Public Health Advisory

Health advisories issued for HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR and BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

Southwest District Health (SWDH) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are issuing health advisories for HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR in the area of the Big Bar Camping area and BROWNLEE RESERVOIR in the area of Woodhead Park, urging residents to use caution when recreating in or near the water.

Recent samples taken 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/

Health advisories issued for HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR and BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

Southwest District Health (SWDH) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are issuing health advisories for HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR in the area of the Big Bar Camping area and BROWNLEE RESERVOIR in the area of Woodhead Park, urging residents to use caution when recreating in or near the water.

Recent samples taken 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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