FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington County moves to yellow health alert level; Payette County remains in the red health alert level
CALDWELL, IDAHO – Washington County moved to the yellow health alert level this week during SWDH staff’s weekly reassessment of the Southwest District Health COVID-19 Health Alert Levels. Payette County remains in the red health alert level. Adams County remains in the gray health alert level. Gem County and Owyhee County remain in the yellow health alert level. Canyon County remains in the orange health alert level.
The reassessments are based on data and information available for the date range of September 6, 2020 – September 19, 2020. Factors included in determining each county’s health alert level are 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. Adams County saw a daily incidence rate of 0.504 per 10,000 people, which is increasing slightly. Due to the number of new cases and the nature of these cases, the increase in incidence rate is not a cause for concern. Adams County has not seen any COVID-19 cases in schools, although some students are in quarantine due to family exposure.
CANYON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Orange
Canyon County will remain in the orange health alert level, with a decreasing 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 1.40 daily new cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down. Only 59.9% of COVID-19 cases have reported knowing where they were exposed, which is a focal reason for keeping Canyon County in the orange alert level. Twelve congregate living facilities are seeing cluster outbreaks. Additionally, healthcare staffing and PPE supplies have stabilized during the date range analyzed. Multiple schools in Canyon County are seeing sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with no known outbreaks.
GEM COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow
Gem County will remain in the yellow health alert level. Gem County currently has a daily incidence rate of 1.34 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is trending down, and is largely due to an isolated cluster outbreak. This outbreak makes up more than a third of new cases in Gem County, and is driving many of the metrics typically used to determine risk within a community. SWDH epidemiologists are accounting for in the decision making process and consider this as low risk to the Gem County community as a whole. Two congregate care facilities are facing sustained COVID-19 outbreaks. 71.8% of new cases that were contacted knew where they were.
OWYHEE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow
Owyhee County will remain in the yellow 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 0.85 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is the lowest SWDH epidemiologists have seen in this county since beginning the health alert level designations. Some Owyhee County schools are seeing imported cases of COVID-19 with no known 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 a high COVID-19 incidence rate, as well as evidence of cluster outbreaks within schools. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 2.65 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing. Only 60.32% 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, as well as non-essential social events. Multiple Payette County schools are seeing cluster outbreaks occurring within the schools. While many metrics for Payette County are improving, evidence from investigations show that some confirmed cases are not following isolation protocols, which is very concerning to SWDH epidemiologists. Additionally, many Payette County residents share their communities with Oregon residents, who are also seeing uncontrolled outbreaks.
WASHINGTON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow
Washington County will move to the yellow health alert level, due to a decreasing daily incidence rate, as well as cluster outbreaks being a result of essential gatherings such as workplace or household exposure. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 2.04 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing. The positivity rate for Washington County is 8.43%, which is decreasing. Washington County schools are not currently seeing any cases within their schools, although some students are in quarantine due to family exposure.
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 but does provide a county-level summary of COVID-19 cases. Individual schools or school districts determine what information to release regarding cases based on legal counsel advice and constraints of privacy regulations.
As of today, the following information on school cases is available. The number of students quarantined is reflective of the amount of students currently in quarantine on the day the data are pulled and may not account for students who have been released from quarantine or are just entering quarantine.
Adams: No current isolation or quarantine
Canyon: Isolation: 11 (students and staff); Quarantine: 107 (students and staff)
Gem: Isolation: 1 staff
Owyhee: Isolation: 4 (students and staff); Quarantine: 200 (students and staff)
Payette: Isolation: 5 (students and staff); Quarantine: 13 (students and staff)
Washington: Quarantine: 3 (students and staff)
The isolation cases represent those who are currently positive for COVID-19. The quarantine cases represent those who have been in contact with a positive case and are being asked to stay home for 14 days to monitor for symptoms. 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.
Residents are encouraged to keep practicing preventive measures to help our region stay healthy and stay open. Steps 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
Information including latest local numbers and data is available on the Southwest District Health website at: https://swdh.id.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.
 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.
 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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