FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For the First Time in 2021 Half of the Counties Within Southwest District Health’s Jurisdiction Reach Gray Alert Level
CALDWELL, IDAHO – For the first time this year, 3 of the 6 counties within Southwest District Health’s (SWDH) jurisdiction have reached the gray or routine risk category. SWDH continues to see declining daily incidence rates and decreasing positivity rates. This is based on data available for the date range February 7, 2021 –February 20, 2021. Adams, Payette, and Washington counties are at the gray COVID-19 health alert level this week. Canyon, Gem, and Owyhee counties are at the yellow health alert level this week. As of February 20, 2021, the daily district-wide incidence rate per 10,000 population is 1.29.
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. Each week, we see our communities’ resilience and determination to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we can see that we are trending in the right direction. Although half of the counties in the SWDH jurisdiction have reached the gray or routine alert level, it is more important than ever to continue safe practices to help bring all of our counties to this same level. Small things can make a big difference, here are things that you can do routinely to help your community reduce the spread of COVID-19:
• Wash hands frequently
• Cover cough and sneeze, and then wash your hands afterward
• Stay home when sick
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
• Put distance between yourself and people outside your home (at least 6 feet)
SWDH continues to strongly recommend cloth face covering (mask) use when in public places and interacting with others that live outside of your household. If you have received COVID-19 vaccination, it is important to
continue the practices listed above.
The information used in determining county health alert levels is provided below.
ADAMS COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Gray
Adams County will move to the gray health alert level, with a low incidence rate and decreasing positivity rate. Adams County saw a daily COVID-19 incidence of 1.01 daily new cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing.1
Many of the new cases can be traced to household exposure. Evidence collected through investigations during the two-week period show community transmission in Adams County, with 66.67% of cases able to identify a potential exposure source. No positive tests were reported in Adams County during the first week of the twoweek date range. One case of COVID-19 was reported in Adams County schools, with no evidence of
transmission within the school.
CANYON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow
Canyon County will remain in the yellow health alert level due to a decreasing daily incidence rate and positivity rate. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 1.40 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is steadily decreasing. Canyon County has a positivity rate of 5.60%, which is also decreasing and nearing our goal of 5.00% or less. Only 62.18% of COVID-19 cases have reported knowing where they were exposed, which points to community spread. SWDH investigators are seeing cases exposed through social gatherings, travel, workplaces and households. Eleven congregate living facilities are reporting cluster outbreaks.2 Multiple schools in Canyon County are reporting cluster outbreaks, with transmission occurring within the schools.
GEM COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow
Gem County will remain the yellow health alert level, due to precautionary measures outlined in our board-approved Health Alert Level Guidelines as stated, “At least two full weeks will be spent in a Health Alert Level
before determinations to move to a lower less severe level (e.g., from High to Medium).” Gem County saw a decreasing incidence rate and positivity rate. Gem County has a daily incidence rate of 0.95 daily cases per
10,000 people which is decreasing. The test positivity rate for Gem County is 2.82% which is decreasing and meets our goal of 5.00% or less. Three congregate care facilities in Gem County are facing sustained COVID-19
outbreaks. 57.89% of new cases that were contacted knew where they were exposed to COVID-19, which is trending slightly up and indicates community transmission. Of the individuals who could identify their exposure source, most were attributed to households or workplace exposure. No cases of COVID-19 were reported in Gem County schools.
OWYHEE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Yellow
Owyhee County will remain in the yellow health alert level this week, due to an increasing daily incidence rate and positivity rate. Owyhee County currently has a daily incidence rate of 1.39 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is increasing slightly. The test positivity rate is 13.21% which is increasing and shows that COVID-19 is more prevalent in the community than our data show. 50.00% of cases can identify an exposure source, which is decreasing and indicates sustained community transmission. SWDH epidemiologists are seeing cluster outbreaks in Owyhee County primarily from household and school exposure. Multiple schools in Owyhee County are reporting cluster outbreaks.
PAYETTE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Gray
Payette County will move to the gray health alert level, with a decreasing positivity rate and incidence rate. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 0.93 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing. Payette County has a test positivity rate of 3.72%, which is also decreasing and meets our goal of 5.00% or less. 65.22% of cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which is increasing but still indicates community transmission. SWDH epidemiologists are concerned by cluster outbreaks within local workplace settings, including Idaho and Oregon workplaces, as well as through household exposure and social gatherings. One sporadic, imported case of COVID-19 was reported in a Payette County school, with no evidence of a cluster outbreak.
WASHINGTON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Gray
Washington County will move to the gray health alert level, due to a decreasing daily incidence rate, and low positivity rate. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 0.49 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing. The positivity rate for Washington County is 4.59%, which is increasing but still meets our goal of 5.00% or less. 75.00% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which is increasing and indicates a reduction in community transmission. Of the cases who could identify a potential exposure source, most were associated with household exposures. No cases of COVID-19 were reported in Washington County schools.
 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.”
WEEKLY CASES BY SCHOOL DISTRICT
The following table represents data on confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases among students and staff attending in-person classes where investigations began between February 14, 2021 – February 20, 2021.
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://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 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except for observed holidays) at 208-455-5411.
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