The six-county jurisdiction of Southwest District Health remains at the red health alert level

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The six-county jurisdiction of Southwest District Health remains at the red health alert level

 CALDWELL, IDAHO – COVID-19 continues to spread throughout District 3 with increased rates of community transmission, declining daily incidence rates, and increasing positivity rates. A slight decline in daily incidence rate paired with an increase in test positivity rate indicates a decreased frequency of COVID-19 testing, not cases. This is based on data available for the date range of December 20, 2020 – January 2, 2021. Currently, all six counties within the jurisdiction of Public Health District 3 are at the red health alert level. As of January 2, 2021, the daily district-wide incidence rate per 10,000 population is 4.81.

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 a very high incidence rate, positivity rate and a high percentage of cases resulting from community transmission. Adams County saw a daily COVID-19 incidence of 15.46 daily new cases per 10,000 people, which remains elevated.  Many of these new cases can be traced to holiday gatherings, as well as workplace and household exposure. Evidence collected through investigations during the two-week period show sustained community transmission in Adams County, as only 67.86% of cases can identify a potential exposure source. Additionally, the test positivity rate for Adams County is 13.04%, which is increasing and 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 primarily among household members.

CANYON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Canyon County will remain in the red health alert level due to a high positivity rate and evidence of sustained community spread. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 4.73 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing. However, Canyon County has a positivity rate of 15.29%, which shows that COVID-19 is more prevalent in the community than our data show. Only 58.96% of COVID-19 cases have reported knowing where they were exposed, which points to sustained community spread. Southwest District Health investigators are seeing cases exposed through holiday gatherings as well as in workplaces and households. 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 primarily among household members.

GEM COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Gem County will remain in the red health alert level, due to a high positivity rate and evidence of community spread. Gem County has a daily incidence rate of 4.30 daily cases per 10,000 people and a test positivity rate of 15.45%. While the daily incidence rate for Gem County is trending down, the test positivity rate is increasing, which shows that COVID-19 is much more prevalent in the community than what our data show. Three congregate care facilities in Gem County are facing a sustained COVID-19 outbreak. 62.03% 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 holiday 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 primarily among household members.

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 3.50 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending in the right direction. However, the test positivity rate is 20.25% 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. Only 48.98% of cases can identify an exposure source, which points to sustained community transmission. Southwest District Health epidemiologists are seeing cluster outbreaks in Owyhee County primarily from holiday 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 among household members.

PAYETTE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Payette County will remain in the red health alert level, due to a very high positivity rate and evidence of sustained community spread. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 4.47 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing. However, Payette County has a test positivity rate of 22.30%, which is increasing and shows that COVID-19 is more prevalent in the community than our data show. Only 41.32% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread. Southwest District Health epidemiologists are concerned by cluster outbreaks within local workplace settings, including Idaho and Oregon workplaces, as well as community gatherings and holiday events. 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 among household members.

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 5.55 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing. The positivity rate for Washington County is 9.68%, which is decreasing but still shows that COVID-19 is more prevalent in the community than our data show. Only 57.75% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread. Southwest District Health 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 among household members.

WEEKLY CASES BY SCHOOL DISTRICT
During the week of December 27, 2020 – January 2, 2021, 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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