For the First Time in 2021 Half of the Counties Within Southwest District Health’s Jurisdiction Reach Gray Alert Level

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For the First Time in 2021 Half of the Counties Within Southwest District Health’s Jurisdiction Reach Gray Alert Level

CALDWELL, IDAHO – For the first time this year, 3 of the 6 counties within Southwest District Health’s (SWDH) jurisdiction have reached the gray or routine risk category. SWDH continues to see declining daily incidence rates and decreasing positivity rates. This is based on data available for the date range February 7, 2021 –February 20, 2021. Adams, Payette, and Washington counties are at the gray COVID-19 health alert level this week. Canyon, Gem, and Owyhee counties are at the yellow health alert level this week. As of February 20, 2021, the daily district-wide incidence rate per 10,000 population is 1.29.

Thank you to residents of District 3 for continuing to follow current recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19. As a reminder, all six counties in the district continue to experience community spread, which puts people living in and visiting these communities at higher risk for exposure. Each week, we see our communities’ resilience and determination to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we can see that we are trending in the right direction. Although half of the counties in the SWDH jurisdiction have reached the gray or routine alert level, it is more important than ever to continue safe practices to help bring all of our counties to this same level. Small things can make a big difference, here are things that you can do routinely to help your community reduce the spread of COVID-19:

• Wash hands frequently
• Cover cough and sneeze, and then wash your hands afterward
• Stay home when sick
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
• Put distance between yourself and people outside your home (at least 6 feet)

SWDH continues to strongly recommend cloth face covering (mask) use when in public places and interacting with others that live outside of your household. If you have received COVID-19 vaccination, it is important to
continue the practices listed above.

The information used in determining county health alert levels is provided below.

ADAMS COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Gray
Adams County will move to the gray health alert level, with a low incidence rate and decreasing positivity rate. Adams County saw a daily COVID-19 incidence of 1.01 daily new cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing.1
Many of the new cases can be traced to household exposure. Evidence collected through investigations during the two-week period show community transmission in Adams County, with 66.67% of cases able to identify a potential exposure source. No positive tests were reported in Adams County during the first week of the twoweek date range. One case of COVID-19 was reported in Adams County schools, with no evidence of
transmission within the school.

CANYON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow
Canyon County will remain in the yellow health alert level due to a decreasing daily incidence rate and positivity rate. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 1.40 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is steadily decreasing. Canyon County has a positivity rate of 5.60%, which is also decreasing and nearing our goal of 5.00% or less. Only 62.18% of COVID-19 cases have reported knowing where they were exposed, which points to community spread. SWDH investigators are seeing cases exposed through social gatherings, travel, workplaces and households. Eleven congregate living facilities are reporting cluster outbreaks.2 Multiple schools in Canyon County are reporting cluster outbreaks, with transmission occurring within the schools.

GEM COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow
Gem County will remain the yellow health alert level, due to precautionary measures outlined in our board-approved Health Alert Level Guidelines as stated, “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).” Gem County saw a decreasing incidence rate and positivity rate. Gem County has a daily incidence rate of 0.95 daily cases per
10,000 people which is decreasing. The test positivity rate for Gem County is 2.82% which is decreasing and meets our goal of 5.00% or less. Three congregate care facilities in Gem County are facing sustained COVID-19
outbreaks. 57.89% of new cases that were contacted knew where they were exposed to COVID-19, which is trending slightly up and indicates community transmission. Of the individuals who could identify their exposure source, most were attributed to households or workplace exposure. No cases of COVID-19 were reported in Gem County schools.

OWYHEE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow
Owyhee County will remain in the yellow health alert level this week, due to an increasing daily incidence rate and positivity rate. Owyhee County currently has a daily incidence rate of 1.39 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is increasing slightly. The test positivity rate is 13.21% which is increasing and shows that COVID-19 is more prevalent in the community than our data show. 50.00% of cases can identify an exposure source, which is decreasing and indicates sustained community transmission. SWDH epidemiologists are seeing cluster outbreaks in Owyhee County primarily from household and school exposure. Multiple schools in Owyhee County are reporting cluster outbreaks.

PAYETTE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Gray
Payette County will move to the gray health alert level, with a decreasing positivity rate and incidence rate. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 0.93 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing. Payette County has a test positivity rate of 3.72%, which is also decreasing and meets our goal of 5.00% or less. 65.22% of cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which is increasing but still indicates community transmission. SWDH epidemiologists are concerned by cluster outbreaks within local workplace settings, including Idaho and Oregon workplaces, as well as through household exposure and social gatherings. One sporadic, imported case of COVID-19 was reported in a Payette County school, with no evidence of a cluster outbreak.

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Gray
Washington County will move to the gray health alert level, due to a decreasing daily incidence rate, and low positivity rate. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 0.49 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing. The positivity rate for Washington County is 4.59%, which is increasing but still meets our goal of 5.00% or less. 75.00% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which is increasing and indicates a reduction in community transmission. Of the cases who could identify a potential exposure source, most were associated with household exposures. No cases of COVID-19 were reported in Washington County schools.

[1] The incidence rate measures how many cases occur each day, and standardizes this value by population. SWDH measures the daily incidence rate per 10,000 population using the following calculation: daily confirmed and probable cases are averaged over the two-week period. This value is divided by the county population, and then multiplied by 10,000 to find the daily incidence per 10,000.
2 According to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, “Long-term care facility means a nursing home, assisted living facility, or intermediate care facility. There are just over 400 long-term care facilities in Idaho. Outbreak means at least one lab-confirmed COVID-19-positive case associated with a facility.”

WEEKLY CASES BY SCHOOL DISTRICT

The following table represents data on confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases among students and staff attending in-person classes where investigations began between February 14, 2021 – February 20, 2021.

The following table represents data on the number of staff and students currently in quarantine and isolation on the day the data are pulled and may not account for individuals who have been released from quarantine or are just entering quarantine.

Those in quarantine have been identified as a close contact of a positive case and are being asked to stay home for 14 days to monitor for symptoms. Those in isolation are currently positive for COVID-19 and are asked to isolate away from others for a minimum of ten days from the onset of symptoms to prevent further spread of the infection.

Region 3 data are 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 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except for observed holidays) at 208-455-5411.

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Media Contacts: 

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

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First confirmed infection with coronavirus variant in SW Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

First confirmed infection with coronavirus variant in SW Idaho

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and Southwest District Health have confirmed the first known infection with a known variant of concern of the virus that causes COVID-19 in an adult male living in southwest Idaho.

Laboratory testing identified the B.1.351 variant of SARS-CoV-2, which was first discovered in South Africa in late 2020. This is Idaho’s first identified infection with a known variant of concern of the COVID-19 virus. There have been 19 infections with this particular variant reported from 10 states. This person recently traveled internationally and is thought to have been exposed before returning to Idaho.

Epidemiologists at Southwest District Health are working with DHW to identify any close contacts who were possibly exposed to this person. Health officials will provide guidance to anyone identified as a close contact and will monitor them closely for symptoms.

Additional case-specific information about this individual is confidential and will not be released.

“We are not surprised to find this virus in Idaho” said Dr. Christine Hahn, medical director in the Division of Public Health. “As we just learned from Boise City’s wastewater testing program this week, variant strains have arrived in the state. We remind Idahoans to continue wearing masks, physically distancing, washing hands frequently, and staying home when ill. In addition to getting vaccinated when it becomes available for you, those actions are the best things we can do now.”

Idaho Public Health officials are actively investigating infections suspected to be caused by SARS-CoV-2 variants. The Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (IBL) continues to expand the number of Idaho samples being sequenced to identify emerging strains and better understand how the virus is spreading in the state.

This variant was identified among the first SARS-CoV-2 samples sequenced by IBL, which continues to work with clinical laboratories, public health districts, and providers to expand the number of Idaho samples being sequenced to identify emerging strains of concern and limit their spread.

Idaho has had 290 Idaho samples sequenced and published in national databases, which is how they are shared nationally. Eighty-six samples are in process, including 36 samples at IBL.

For Idaho-specific information about the novel coronavirus, please visit https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.

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Media Contacts: 

Niki Forbing-Orr
Public Information Manager
Department of Health and Welfare
(208) 334-0668

Ashley Anderson
Public Information Officer
Southwest District Health
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

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COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Lifted for Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Lifted for Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties                                                       

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health has lifted the COVID-19 Public Health Advisory issued November 20, 2020 for the six-county jurisdiction of Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties. The advisory was prompted by a continued surge in case counts, increasing demands on the healthcare system, and a backlog of cases that required public health investigators and contact tracers to prioritize incoming case work. The health advisory was not a mandate but instead included strong recommendations for individuals and businesses around personal behaviors and business operations.

Lifting the advisory is prompted by a decline in case counts, hospitalizations, and incidence rates in the majority of the counties across the six-county region. As of February 6, 2021, the daily district-wide incidence rate per 10,000 population is 2.22. Also, for the first time in months, all six counties are below the red health alert level.

As a reminder, all six counties in the district continue to experience community spread, which puts people living in and visiting these communities at higher risk for exposure. It is the goal of Southwest District Health to work our way back to a place where we have no community spread.

Thank you to our communities for continuing to do your part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our region. COVID-19 vaccines are just one of the tools we have to help return to pre-pandemic normal. Southwest District Health encourages everyone who lives, works, and plays in Southwest Idaho to follow the recommendations for the current health alert level in your respective county.

Questions may be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 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: 

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

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All six counties have moved out of the red health alert level; Counties within Southwest District Health’s jurisdiction continue to see declining daily incidence rates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

All six counties have moved out of the red health alert level; Counties within Southwest District Health’s jurisdiction continue to see declining daily incidence rates

CALDWELL, IDAHO – COVID-19 continues to spread throughout District 3. Some areas within District 3 are experiencing a downward trend in COVID-19, with declining daily incidence rates and positivity rates. However, some areas in District 3 are still experiencing elevated rates of COVID-19 incidence. This is based on data available for the date range January 24, 2021 – February 6, 2021. Adams, Canyon, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington counties are at the yellow COVID-19 health alert level this week. Gem County remains at the orange health alert level. For the first time in recent months, all counties within the District 3 jurisdiction are below the red health alert level. As of February 6, 2021, the daily district-wide incidence rate per 10,000 population is 2.22.

Thank you to residents of District 3 for continuing to follow current recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19. As a reminder, all six counties in the district continue to experience community spread, which puts people living in and visiting these communities at higher risk for exposure. It is the goal of Southwest District Health to work our way back to a place where we have no community spread and with your help we can see that we are trending in the right direction.

The information used in determining county health alert levels is provided below.

ADAMS COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow

Adams County will remain in the yellow health alert level, with a decreasing incidence rate and positivity rate. Adams County saw a daily COVID-19 incidence of 1.18 daily new cases per 10,000 people, which is steadily decreasing.  Many of these new cases can be traced to workplace exposure. Evidence collected through investigations during the two-week period show community transmission in Adams County, with 66.67% of cases able to identify a potential exposure source. Additionally, the test positivity rate for Adams County is 2.04%, which is decreasing and meets our goal of 5.00% or less. One case of COVID-19 was reported in Adams County schools, with no evidence of transmission within the school.

CANYON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow

Canyon County will move to the yellow health alert level due to a decreasing daily incidence rate and positivity rate. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 2.33 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is steadily decreasing. Canyon County has a positivity rate of 7.48%, which is also decreasing and nearing our goal of 5.00% or less. Only 61.28% of COVID-19 cases have reported knowing where they were exposed, which points to community spread. SWDH investigators are seeing cases exposed through social gatherings, community events, travel, workplaces and households. Fifteen congregate living facilities are reporting cluster outbreaks.  Multiple schools in Canyon County are reporting cluster outbreaks, with transmission occurring within the schools.

GEM COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange

Gem County will remain in the orange health alert level, with a decreasing incidence rate and positivity rate. Gem County has a daily incidence rate of 2.60 daily cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing but still falls within the orange level. The test positivity rate for Gem County is 7.66% which is decreasing and nearing our goal of 5.00% or less. Three congregate care facilities in Gem County are facing sustained COVID-19 outbreaks. 70.45% of new cases that were contacted knew where they were exposed to COVID-19, which is trending slightly down and indicates an increase in community transmission. Of the individuals who could identify their exposure source, most were attributed to household and workplace exposure. Multiple sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 were reported in a Gem County school with no evidence of transmission within the school.

OWYHEE COUNTY –  Health Alert Level: Yellow

Owyhee County will remain in the yellow health alert level this week, due to a very low daily incidence rate and decreasing positivity rate. Owyhee County currently has a daily incidence rate of 1.21 daily cases per 10,000 people, which continues to decrease. The test positivity rate is 6.25% which is decreasing and nearing our goal of 5.00% or less. 68.75% of cases can identify an exposure source, which increased substantially but still indicates sustained community transmission. SWDH epidemiologists are seeing cluster outbreaks in Owyhee County primarily from social gatherings, workplaces, and household exposure. No cases of COVID-19 were reported in Owyhee County schools during this date range.

PAYETTE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow

Payette County will move to the orange health alert level, with a decreasing positivity rate and incidence rate. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 1.61 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing. Payette County has a test positivity rate of 5.04%, which is also decreasing and nearing our goal of 5.00% or less. 51.35% of cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which is decreasing and indicates an increase in community transmission. SWDH epidemiologists are concerned by cluster outbreaks within local workplace settings, including Idaho and Oregon workplaces, as well as through household exposure and social gatherings. Multiple schools in Payette County are reporting sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with no evidence of cluster outbreaks.

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow

Washington County will move to the yellow health alert level, due to a decreasing daily incidence rate, and positivity rate. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 2.25 daily cases per 10,000 people, which decreased by nearly 60%. The positivity rate for Washington County is 3.53%, which decreased and meets our goal of 5.00% or less. 44.00% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which decreased sharply and points to an increase in community transmission. Of the cases who could identify a potential exposure source, most were associated with household and workplace exposures. No cases of COVID-19 were reported in Washington County schools.

 WEEKLY CASES BY SCHOOL DISTRICT

The following table represents data on confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases among students and staff attending in-person classes where investigations began between January 31, 2021 – February 6, 2021.

The following table represents data on the number of staff and students currently in quarantine and isolation on the day the data are pulled and may not account for individuals who have been released from quarantine or are just entering quarantine.

Those in quarantine have been identified as a close contact of a positive case and are being asked to stay home for 14 days to monitor for symptoms. Those in isolation are currently positive for COVID-19 and are asked to isolate away from others for a minimum of ten days from the onset of symptoms to prevent further spread of the infection.

Region 3 data are 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 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except for observed holidays) at 208-455-5411.

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Media Contacts:  Ashley Anderson   Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams    Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Southwest District Health Vaccine Scheduling Update

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health Vaccine Scheduling Update

 CALDWELL, IDAHO – Vaccinating our older adult population (65 and older), is currently high priority. We are closely working with our local COVID-19 vaccine partners to administer vaccine to eligible population groups. However, there are challenges to overcome and we ask for your patience and cooperation as we work through these challenges together. One of those challenges is our supply of vaccines. As of February 4, 2021, most of the vaccination sites in Southwest District Health’s jurisdiction have reported they have no appointment availability. The current vaccine quantity of 3,000 weekly doses makes it very difficult to schedule appointments in advance. Due to the limited supply of vaccine, it is difficult for our COVID-19 vaccine partners to schedule vaccination clinics.

Southwest District Health, or District 3, is responsible for distributing the vaccine to those eligible under Group 2 (Frontline Essential Workers and adults 65 years of age or older) in the following counties: Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington. As you may already realize, 3,000 vaccine doses are not nearly enough to vaccinate all eligible individuals in a single week. With the current weekly allotment of vaccine, we estimate it will take 10 weeks to vaccinate all individuals in Group 2.

We understand many individuals in Group 2 are eager to receive their vaccine; however, we ask for your patience and understanding as we work with our community partners to administer vaccines to over 46,778 people within District 3. It is anticipated that it will take at least 10 weeks to vaccinate everyone in Group 2. We encourage community members eligible for the vaccine to prioritize those compromised individuals over 65 and those that are high risk.

Please know we are working diligently to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to people as quickly and efficiently as we can with our limited vaccine supply. We encourage you to continue to look for updates from Southwest District Health via social media, news releases, and updates from our media and healthcare partners. We are hopeful additional vaccine supplies will be made available to us in the near future.

Again, please keep in mind that if you are currently eligible to receive a vaccine, appointment availability may not be immediate. Current vaccine administering partner sites can be found here as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/#Vaccine

Questions about this information or any other COVID-19 information may be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except for observed holidays) at 208-455-5411. Statewide Information: https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/.

Thank you for your patience as we work together to vaccinate our currently eligible populations.

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Media Contacts: 

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

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Southwest District Health Vaccine Scheduling Update

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health Vaccine Scheduling Update

 CALDWELL, IDAHO – Vaccinating our older adult population (65 and older), is currently high priority. We are closely working with our local COVID-19 vaccine partners to administer vaccine to eligible population groups. However, there are challenges to overcome and we ask for your patience and cooperation as we work through these challenges together. One of those challenges is our supply of vaccines. As of February 4, 2021, most of the vaccination sites in Southwest District Health’s jurisdiction have reported they have no appointment availability. The current vaccine quantity of 3,000 weekly doses makes it very difficult to schedule appointments in advance. Due to the limited supply of vaccine, it is difficult for our COVID-19 vaccine partners to schedule vaccination clinics.

Southwest District Health, or District 3, is responsible for distributing the vaccine to those eligible under Group 2 (Frontline Essential Workers and adults 65 years of age or older) in the following counties: Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington. As you may already realize, 3,000 vaccine doses are not nearly enough to vaccinate all eligible individuals in a single week. With the current weekly allotment of vaccine, we estimate it will take 10 weeks to vaccinate all individuals in Group 2.

We understand many individuals in Group 2 are eager to receive their vaccine; however, we ask for your patience and understanding as we work with our community partners to administer vaccines to over 46,778 people within District 3. It is anticipated that it will take at least 10 weeks to vaccinate everyone in Group 2. We encourage community members eligible for the vaccine to prioritize those compromised individuals over 65 and those that are high risk.

Please know we are working diligently to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to people as quickly and efficiently as we can with our limited vaccine supply. We encourage you to continue to look for updates from Southwest District Health via social media, news releases, and updates from our media and healthcare partners. We are hopeful additional vaccine supplies will be made available to us in the near future.

Again, please keep in mind that if you are currently eligible to receive a vaccine, appointment availability may not be immediate. Current vaccine administering partner sites can be found here as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/#Vaccine

Questions about this information or any other COVID-19 information may be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except for observed holidays) at 208-455-5411. Statewide Information: https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/.

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Media Contacts: 

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

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