FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New COVID-19 data collection tool launched
CALDWELL, IDAHO – COVID-19 incidence rates across the six-county region Southwest District Health (SWDH) serves remain high and hospital systems are seeing the impact. Southwest District Health serves Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties.
Since late July 2021, all counties in SWDH were categorized by the CDC as having high levels of community transmission. As of September 15, 2021, the district-wide COVID-19 incidence rate is 6.80 daily new cases per 10,000 residents and the most current test positivity rate is 18.35%.
A new tool in the fight against COVID-19: Self-report your COVID-19 experience
The combination of a sharp increase in COVID-19 positive cases and limited staffing has created a significant backlog in COVID-19 case investigations. Southwest District Health attempts to contact each new case to learn about their exposure, illness, treatment, and outcome. This core function of local public health is done to monitor disease trends in a community, provide data that can inform decisions, and communicate risks and prevention messages. The ideal outcome of SWDH’s work is to limit the spread of diseases within our community that often cause lasting disability or premature death.
Southwest District Health will be asking individuals with a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test to use a secure online form to share their COVID-19 experience. The form asks the same questions our disease investigators would go through, but due to our current situation, we are unable to contact every new case in a timely manner. This means that SWDH is not able to communicate important information about COVID-19 and is not able to collect essential information that when compiled with all other new cases, provides crucial information about severity of illness among specific populations (e.g., age group, occupation, ethnicity, etc.), exposure, vaccination breakthrough, and hospitalization.
Southwest District Health encourages residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to notify those they have been in close contact with up to two days prior to developing symptoms or testing positive. Since August 2021, SWDH has averaged over 150 daily reported new cases of COVID-19. Due to the number of new cases being reported each day, SWDH is unable to make timely contact and notification to close contacts. Close contacts should isolate at home for 14 days to help reduce the spread of the virus in our community.
“We are on a very concerning trajectory. Our hospitals are full, and we anticipate the situation will worsen before it improves. Southwest District Health is making every effort to provide accurate and timely data and information to our community, schools, businesses, and elected officials, but we cannot keep up with the current pace of new cases being reported each day. Our community can help us by making the decision to get vaccinated, staying home when sick, avoiding the emergency department unless it is necessary, and assisting Southwest District Health by providing timely information following a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test,” said Nikki Zogg, District Director.
Please call the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center 208-455-5411 to book your vaccine appointment or schedule a COVID-19 test. The Call Center is available Monday through Friday 8:30 AM-4:30 PM (MDT) except for observed holidays. Community members are encouraged to visit the SWDH COVID-19 Vaccine Webpage for helpful vaccine resources.
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