Southwest District Health shares information used for most recent county health alert level determination; encourages preventive actions for upcoming holiday weekend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health shares information used for most recent county health alert level determination; encourages preventive actions for upcoming holiday weekend

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health (SWDH) staff have noticed a slight downward trend in the daily incidence rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases across its six-county region of Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington counties.  As the holiday weekend approaches, public health staff encourage residents to continue their efforts to slow the spread and avoid an increase in daily incidence rates as was noted following Memorial Day and Fourth of July holiday weekends.

Steps to follow this weekend to enjoy a safe, healthy Labor Day holiday weekend include:

  • Maintain physical distancing and stay six feet apart from people not in your household
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Gather outdoors with a small group
  • Sanitize and wash your hands often
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces often

“Many thanks to the businesses and residents who are doing their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said District Director Nikki Zogg. Staff remain hopeful that the downward trend in cases continues and counties can move to lower levels on the SWDH COVID-19 Health Alert Level system. Health alert levels for each county were re-evaluated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020. For the data range of August 16, 2020 – August 29, 2020 the following information was used to determine the categorizations for each county.

ADAMS COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Gray

Adams County remains in the gray health alert level due to a low COVID-19 incidence rate of 0.504 per 10,000 people over the date range analyzed. Additionally, no positive cases were reported in Adams County during the last week analyzed. Decision makers in Adams County school districts are taking a cautious approach to resuming in person learning.

CANYON COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Red

Canyon County remains in the red health alert level due to a high COVID-19 daily incidence rate, and concerns raised by epidemiologists regarding cluster outbreaks and strain on the healthcare system. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 2.576 daily new cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down. Fourteen congregate living facilities are seeing cluster outbreaks[1]. Additionally, healthcare staff shortages, and 52 healthcare workers testing positive for COVID-19 during the date range analyzed is concerning to SWDH epidemiologists and healthcare officials.

GEM COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Orange

Gem County remains in the orange health alert level. Gem County currently has a daily incidence rate of 0.828 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down for the third week consecutively. Two congregate care facilities are facing sustained COVID-19 outbreaks. Additionally, cluster outbreaks from essential gatherings (workplace clusters and household clusters) are concerning SWDH epidemiologists. Only half of patients contacted knew where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread.

OWYHEE COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Orange

Owyhee County remains in the orange health alert level due to a decreasing COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as all cluster outbreaks being a result of essential gatherings. Owyhee County currently has a daily incidence rate of 1.45 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down for the third week in a row. Evidence of workplace and household clusters is apparent, but is cause for less concern by epidemiologists.

PAYETTE COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Red

Payette County remains in the red health alert level, due to a rapidly increasing COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as evidence of sustained community spread. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 6.173 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is continuing to increase. Only 48.59% 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 local workplace settings, after school extra-curricula’s, as well as non-essential gatherings. Many school boards and decision makers are taking rapid responsive action to mitigate risk of COVID-19 to staff and students.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Health Alert Level: Orange

Washington County has moved to the orange health alert level due to a decreasing COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as a decrease is non-essential gatherings resulting in cluster outbreaks. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 2.531 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down. Cluster outbreaks in congregate living facilities and essential gatherings are concerning to SWDH epidemiologists. Only 50.64% of cases report knowing where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread.

 In addition to the above trends, some of the schools within SWDH have been impacted by COVID-19. Although SWDH does not release case specific information for schools the following information is available:

  • Canyon County:  9 students positive, 2 staff positive, 3 students on quarantine
  • Payette County: 8 students positive, 1 staff positive, 30 student athletes on quarantine, 2 students on quarantine
  • Washington County :  3 students positive, 4 staff positive, 2 students on quarantine
  • Owyhee County:  1 student positive
  • In person learning being conducted in:  10 school districts, 5 charter schools, 1 private
  • Hybrid (combination of in person and online learning) being conducted in:  5 school districts, 1 Charter School

The data dashboard available on the SWDH COVID-19 website at https://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/ includes information on confirmed and probable cases and deaths for each county within its district. The dashboard also includes case characteristics by city and county, daily incidence rate by zip code, positivity rate calculations and health care capacity information. As of yesterday, September 3, 2020 the data used for the “COVID-19 Cases in Southwest Idaho” chart displayed on the website will align with the data for the data dashboard. Previously, data posted to the chart aligned with the numbers posted each evening on the State of Idaho’s website available at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov. Slight differences in the numbers between the SWDH data and the data posted at the State’s website are due to different times data is pulled or updated. All COVID-19 cases in Idaho are reported to a centralized database which is run by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW). This database is constantly being updated by state, local and private entities as new lab reports, investigations, and hospital records are added.

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. 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: 

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

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