Health alert levels for each county reassessed; increase in daily incidence rate noted in several counties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Health alert levels for each county reassessed; increase in daily incidence rate noted in several counties

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health staff reassessed the health alert levels for each of its six counties based on data available for the date range of September 13, 2020 – September 26, 2020. Washington County and Gem County moved to the orange health alert level. Owyhee County moved to the gray health alert level. Payette County remains in the red health alert level. Adams County remains in the gray health alert level. Canyon County remains in the orange health alert level.

An increased daily incidence rate has been noted in several counties including Gem, Canyon, Washington, and Payette. The district-wide daily incidence rate per 10,000 is 1.67 based on the date range of September 13, 2020 – September 26, 2020.

Information included in determining county 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 0.340 per 10,000 people, which is decreasing. Due to the number of new cases and the nature of these cases, SWDH epidemiologists agree that the risk of COVID-19 is relatively low for the general Adams County community. Adams County has not seen any COVID-19 cases in schools, although some students are in quarantine due to family exposure. Because there are only two cases in Adams County this week, dashboard will be unavailable on the SWDH website. 

CANYON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange

Canyon County will remain in the orange health alert level with a slightly increasing 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 1.49 daily new cases per 10,000 people, which is trending up slightly. Only 58.8% of COVID-19 cases have reported knowing where they were exposed, which points to sustained community spread. SWDH investigators are seeing an increase in cases exposed through out of state travel. Twelve congregate living facilities are seeing cluster outbreaks[1]. Additionally, multiple schools in Canyon County are seeing sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with no known outbreaks or transmission within schools.

GEM COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange

Gem County will move to the orange health alert level due to an increasing incidence rate, high hospitalization rate, and increased frequency of cluster outbreaks. Gem County currently has a daily incidence rate of 2.41 daily cases per 10,000 people, which increased dramatically. Gem County currently has a hospitalization rate of 15.38% for COVID-19 patients. Three congregate care facilities are facing sustained COVID-19 outbreaks. 66.67% of new cases that were contacted knew where they were exposed to COVID-19, which is trending up but still points to sustained community transmission. Multiple schools are seeing cluster outbreaks and transmission within the school.

OWYHEE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Gray

Owyhee County will move to the gray 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 0.54 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is continuing to steadily decrease. Some Owyhee County schools are seeing imported cases of COVID-19 with no schools seeing cluster 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 an increasing COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as evidence of cluster outbreaks within schools. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 3.19 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is increasing. Only 58.82% 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 essential gatherings such as local workplace settings and household clusters. Epidemiologists are also concerned with an increased frequency of cases exposed while traveling out of state. Multiple Payette County schools are seeing cluster outbreaks occurring within the schools. Additionally, many Payette County residents share their border communities with Oregon residents, who are also seeing uncontrolled outbreaks.

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange

Washington County will move to the orange health alert level due to an increasing daily incidence rate, increasing hospitalization rate and high positivity rate. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 2.95 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is increasing. The positivity rate for Washington County is 11.83%, which is increasing. The symptomatic rate for Washington County is 80% which is very low and points to widespread testing. Seeing a very high positivity rate and a low rate of symptomatic confirmed cases points to widespread infection. Washington County schools are currently seeing sporadic, imported cases with no transmission within their school.

SCHOOL DATA

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. Individual schools or school districts determine what information to release regarding cases based on legal counsel advice and constraints of privacy regulations.

The following county-level summary of COVID-19 cases in schools is available:

Adams:  Quarantine:  2
Canyon:  Isolation:  30, Quarantine:  200
Gem:  Isolation:  11, Quarantine:  115
Owyhee:  Isolation:  2 Quarantine:  13
Payette:  Isolation:  22 Quarantine:  153
Washington:  Isolation:  2  Quarantine:  1
Total:  Isolation:  67 Quarantine:  484

The number quarantined is reflective of the number of staff and students currently in quarantine 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.

The isolation cases represent those who are currently positive for COVID-19.  In addition, those who are on isolation are asked to isolate away from others for 10 days from onset of symptoms in order to prevent further 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 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 208-455-5411.

[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.”

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Media Contacts: 

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

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