New COVID-19 information website available; County health alert levels reassessed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New COVID-19 information website available; County health alert levels reassessed

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health is excited to announce a new COVID-19 information website available at  https://ahealthiersouthwestidaho.org/. This new website is a one-stop source for all of the districts’ COVID-19 information, both in English and Spanish. The site has helpful information about how to slow the spread of COVID-19, useful printables, and social media graphics for anyone to download and use, helpful videos that can be shared with anyone, and our full FAQ page with common questions and answers about COVID-19. While it is a large source of information, we will be continuously adding to the site, keeping all the information as up to date as possible.

Southwest District Health staff continue to notice an upward trend in district-wide incidence rates. Daily incidence rates continue to edge up across the majority of the district. As of October 7, 2020, the daily district-wide incident rate per 10,000 is 2.06. This number is up from 1.92 per 10,000 on September 23, 2020. During the weekly reassessment of health alert levels based on data available for September 27, 2020 – October 10, 2020, Gem County was moved from the orange health alert level to the yellow health alert level. Owyhee County moved from the gray health alert level to the yellow health alert level.

The 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, with only two new cases of COVID-19 reported between September 27, 2020 and October 10, 2020. Because there are only two new cases in Adams County for this date range, the Adams County 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[1], an increasing rate of cluster outbreaks, and stability in Canyon County healthcare systems. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 1.98 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is trending up. Only 60% of COVID-19 cases have reported knowing where they were exposed, which is trending up but still points to sustained community spread. SWDH investigators are continuing to see cases exposed through out of state travel. Eight congregate living facilities are seeing cluster outbreaks[2]. Additionally, multiple schools in Canyon County are reporting an outbreak or transmission within the school.

GEM COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow

Gem County will move to the yellow health alert level, due to a decreasing incidence rate, low positivity rate, and decreased frequency of cluster outbreaks. Gem County currently has a daily incidence rate of 1.38 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing. Three congregate care facilities in Gem County are facing sustained COVID-19 outbreaks. 83.3% 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. One school is reporting a cluster outbreak with transmission occurring within the school.

OWYHEE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow

Owyhee County will move to the yellow health alert level, due to an increasing COVID-19 daily incidence rate and evidence of community spread. Owyhee County currently has a daily incidence rate of 1.21 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is increasing. SWDH epidemiologists are seeing cluster outbreaks as a result of workplace and household exposure, as well as some out of state travel. Only 66.67% of cases report knowing where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread. There was one sporadic, imported case of COVID-19 within Owyhee County schools during the two-week date range.

PAYETTE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red

Payette County is to remain in the red health alert level, due to a high COVID-19 daily incidence rate, as well as evidence of a high positivity rate. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 3.79 daily new cases per 10,000 people which decreased slightly but is still very high. Only 53.91% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which in decreasing and points to sustained community spread. SWDH epidemiologists are concerned by cluster outbreaks from essential gatherings such as local workplace settings and household clusters. Payette County has a test positivity rate of 13.49%, which is increasing and was a major factor in determining this week’s alert level. Multiple Payette County schools are seeing sporadic, isolated cases with no transmission occurring within schools. Newly implemented measures, by some Payette County schools, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are encouraging steps to help in-person learning continue safely.

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange

Washington County will remain in the orange health alert level, due to a high daily incidence rate and a high positivity rate. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 2.88 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing. The positivity rate for Washington County is 11.97%, which is decreasing but still much higher than we would like to see. Washington County schools are currently seeing sporadic, imported cases with transmission occurring within one school.

SCHOOL DATA

Southwest District Health will begin to release information on the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases within each school district broken downby staff and students.

The following information is available as of October 15, 2020:

Adams:  Quarantine:  0
Canyon:  Isolation:  30, Quarantine:  198
Gem:  Isolation:  0, Quarantine:  29
Owyhee:  Isolation:  1, Quarantine:  12
Payette:  Isolation:  12, Quarantine:  39
Washington:  Isolation:  3,  Quarantine:  7

Total:  Isolation:  46  Quarantine:  285

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. Also, those who are in isolation are asked to isolate away from others for a minimum of 10 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.

[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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