Health alert levels remain unchanged across the six-county jurisdiction of Southwest District Health; Holiday COVID-19 safety reminders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Health alert levels remain unchanged across the six-county jurisdiction of Southwest District Health; Holiday COVID-19 safety reminders

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Daily incidence rates of COVID-19 remain at an elevated level across the district with a slight decline in incidence rate. This is based on data available for the date range December 13, 2020 – December 26, 2020. Currently, all six-counties within the jurisdiction of Public Health District 3 are at the red health alert level. As of December 26, 2020, the daily district-wide incident rate per 10,000 population is 6.27.

As we prepare to ring in the New Year, the safest way to celebrate is at home with the people who live with you or stay connected virtually with friends and family. Consider other activities to celebrate New Year’s, such as:

  • Have virtual celebrations with loved ones.
  • Plan a New Year’s party for the people who live with you.
  • Watch livestreamed New Year’s programming from your home.

If you’re celebrating New Year’s with people outside your household, make sure you take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (at least 2 arm’s length) apart.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Get a flu shot as soon as possible.
  • Please keep in mind the current Idaho Stage 2 Modified Stay Healthy order restrictions on gathering size, limiting gathering sizes to 10 individuals or less.

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.

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

ADAMS COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Adams County will remain in the red health alert level, with an increasing incidence rate, and a high percentage of cases resulting from community transmission. Adams County saw an increase in daily COVID-19 incidence, which brings the most recent incidence rate to 15.80 daily new cases per 10,000 people.  Some of these new cases can be traced to social and community gatherings, as well as workplace exposure. Evidence collected through investigations during the two-week period show sustained community transmission in Adams County, as only 70.13% of cases can identify a potential exposure source. Additionally, the test positivity rate for Adams County is 12.96%, which is decreasing but still much higher than we would like to see. Primary schools in Adams County are on winter break, which limits the possibility of continued cluster outbreaks and transmission within schools. Sporadic cases among students are still being reported, with transmission occurring within households.

CANYON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Canyon County will remain in the red health alert level due to an elevated COVID-19 daily incidence rate and high positivity rate. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 6.32 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing but still much higher than we would like to see. Only 56.66% of COVID-19 cases have reported knowing where they were exposed, which points to sustained community spread. SWDH investigators are continuing to see cases exposed through community gatherings as well as in workplaces and households. Additionally, the test positivity rate in Canyon County is 15.82% which is trending down but still shows that COVID-19 is more prevalent than our data show. Eighteen congregate living facilities are reporting cluster outbreaks.  Healthcare facilities in Canyon County are postponing elective surgeries to conserve resources. Primary schools in Canyon County are on winter break, which limits the possibility of continued cluster outbreaks and transmission within schools. Sporadic cases among students are still being reported, with transmission occurring within households.

GEM COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Gem County will remain in the red health alert level, due to a high daily incidence rate and positivity rate. Gem County has a daily incidence rate of 5.60 daily cases per 10,000 people and a test positivity rate of 15.28%. While these metrics are trending down, they are still higher than we would like to see. Two congregate care facilities in Gem County are facing a sustained COVID-19 outbreak. 61.32% of new cases that were contacted knew where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to community transmission. Of the individuals who could identify their exposure source, most were attributed to household exposure, workplaces, and community events. Primary schools in Gem County are on winter break, which limits the possibility of continued cluster outbreaks and transmission within schools. Sporadic cases among students are still being reported, with transmission occurring within households.

OWYHEE COUNTY –  Health Alert Level: Red
Owyhee County remains in the red health alert level, due to a high positivity rate, as well as evidence of community spread. Owyhee County currently has a daily incidence rate of 4.59 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending in the right direction. Only 56.92% of cases can identify an exposure source, which points to sustained community transmission. Additionally, the test positivity rate is 18.40% which is trending up and shows that COVID-19 is much more prevalent in the community than our data show. This is a primary reason that Owyhee County remains in the red health alert level. SWDH epidemiologists are seeing cluster outbreaks in Owyhee County primarily from social gatherings, workplaces, and household exposure. Primary schools in Owyhee County are on winter break, which limits the possibility of continued cluster outbreaks and transmission within schools. Sporadic cases among students are still being reported, with transmission occurring within households.

PAYETTE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Payette County will remain in the red health alert level, due to an elevated COVID-19 daily incidence rate and positivity rate. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 4.95 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing. Only 48.06% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread. SWDH epidemiologists are concerned by cluster outbreaks within local workplace settings, including Idaho and Oregon workplaces, as well community and social gatherings. Payette County has a test positivity rate of 13.15%, which is remaining elevated and shows that COVID-19 is more prevalent in the community than our data show. Primary schools in Payette County are on winter break, which limits the possibility of continued cluster outbreaks and transmission within schools. Sporadic cases among students are still being reported, with transmission occurring within households.

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Washington County will remain in the red health alert level, due to an elevated daily incidence rate and a high positivity rate. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 7.59 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing but still extremely high. The positivity rate for Washington County is 16.30%, which is decreasing but still shows that COVID-19 is much more prevalent in the community than our data show. Only 59.80% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread. SWDH epidemiologists are seeing transmission occurring primarily within households and workplaces. Primary schools in Washington County are on winter break, which limits the possibility of continued cluster outbreaks and transmission within schools. Sporadic cases among students are still being reported, with transmission occurring within households.
WEEKLY CASES BY SCHOOL DISTRICT

During the week of December 20, 2020 – December 26, 2020, all schools within SWDH are on winter break. No in-person or remote learning took place during this week

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 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 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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