Southwest District Health notes increase in RSV cases; encourages RSV and flu illness prevention and common sense

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health notes increase in RSV cases;  
encourages RSV and flu illness prevention and common sense 

Southwest District Health (SWDH) officials have noted an increase in the number of RSV cases in our area and encourage individuals to be aware of the signs and symptoms of RSV and other respiratory illnesses and to take preventive measures to keep themselves and their families healthy during the upcoming holiday season. Some hospitals and healthcare organizations around the nation report maxed out hospital capacity and overrun emergency departments due to RSV. Now is the time to take precautions and know how you can prevent becoming ill and how to protect others in your family if you do become ill.

“Case trends for RSV activity in our area will change quickly as cases usually peak between December and February,” said Josh Campbell, SWDH Family and Clinic Services Division Administrator. “We want everyone to use common sense to know when to go and when to stay home this season, especially as we enter the holidays.”

Some of the ways you can help prevent becoming ill with RSV and flu include:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wash hands frequently and correctly (with soap and water for 20 seconds)
  • Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils with others
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Stay home when sick
  • Consider wearing a mask if you need to be in public
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops frequently
  • Get the flu vaccine – Everyone 6 months and older are eligible for the flu vaccine
  • Practice healthy habits such as eating whole nutritious foods, exercising, and socializing

RSV is a common virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms in adults. Most children can be treated at home and will recover in a week or two but some individuals may be at higher risk for severe illness that could require hospitalization. Infants less than six months old, those born prematurely, children six months to 2 years of age with chronic lung or heart disease, or immunocompromising conditions, and older individuals especially over the age of 65, may be at risk of severe illness from RSV. Those with higher risk of severe illness should avoid contact with sick people or settings, such as childcare centers, where RSV may easily spread. Individuals having difficulty breathing, trouble eating or drinking due to rapid breathing, or those with worsening symptoms, should contact their healthcare provider.

RSV can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes sending virus containing droplets into the air, where they can infect a person who inhales the droplets. Direct contact with the virus can occur, for example, by kissing the face of a child with RSV. Indirect contact can occur if the virus lands on a surface, such as a doorknob or table, that is then touched by other people who touch their eyes, mouth, or nose before washing their hands. Most commonly, people with RSV are contagious for three to eight days and may be contagious 1 or 2 days before they show signs of illness. Being infected with RSV once does not make you immune and reinfection does occur.

Though there is no vaccine for RSV, flu vaccinations are available at SWDH. Call (208) 455-5300 to schedule your appointment. Join SWDH in becoming Healthier Together. Check out the programs SWDH offers to help your family be their healthiest including Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) at https://swdh.id.gov/healthy-living/about-contact-info/. Also, you can stay up to date with healthy living updates from SWDH when you subscribe to our every other month “Healthier Together” newsletter. Click HERE to Subscribe!

For more information, visit the below links:

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Media Contacts

Southwest District Health:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

 

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Human West Nile Virus Case Identified in Canyon County Health Officials Encourage Taking Precautions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Human West Nile Virus Case Identified in Canyon County
Health Officials Encourage Taking Precautions

CALDWELL, IDAHO – West Nile virus has been confirmed in a Canyon County resident. This is the first 2022 human case of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in the counties served by Southwest District Health.

West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness that is usually spread to animals and humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It does not spread from person-to-person. Most people infected with the virus do not show symptoms, although more severe symptoms may occur, especially in individuals older than 60. People with symptoms may experience fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash typically occurring 2 to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

“About one in 150 people infected with WNV develop severe illness such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or meningitis (inflammation of the linings of the brain and spinal cord),” said Ricky Bowman, Program Manager for Southwest District Health. “These more severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, body aches, disorientation, and tremors, and may require hospitalization” he said.

Measures to lessen the chance of bites from infected mosquitos are underway in Canyon County. “Surveillance and control measures throughout the county have already been increased in response to several previous West Nile virus positive mosquito samples,“ said Jim Lunders, Director of Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District.

The more time you spend outdoors, the higher your chances are that you could be bitten by an infected mosquito. To reduce your risk of contracting WNV you should:

  • Avoid outdoor activities between dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active and feeding
  • Wear long sleeves, pants, and loose-fitting clothing if you must be outside between dawn and dusk
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535 or Picaridin (follow manufacturers’ instructions) when outside. In addition, certain products containing permethrin are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear.
  • Remove mosquito breeding sites by draining standing water from flowerpots, buckets, barrels, pool covers, and wading pools. Water held for seven days can produce mosquitoes.
  • Avoid over irrigating your lawns, gardens, and pastures
  • Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths and watering troughs at least twice weekly.
  • Drill holes in tire swings or old tires so water drains out.
  • Vaccinate your horses against West Nile virus.
  • Notify the District at 208-461-8633 if you have a site that is too large to be eliminated so it can be properly treated.

West Nile virus does not usually affect domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, but it can cause severe illness in horses and certain bird species. There is no human vaccine available but there are vaccines available for horses. People are advised to vaccinate their horses to protect them against WNV.

For more information on WNV please visit:

For more information on insect repellents, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents

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Media Contacts

Southwest District Health:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District:

Jim Lunders           jlunders@2cmad.org

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Adams County Bat Tests Positive for Rabies; Health Officials Urge Caution Around All Bats

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Adams County Bat Tests Positive for Rabies; Health Officials Urge Caution Around All Bats

 CALDWELL, IDAHO – A bat found in Adams County has tested positive for rabies, making it the first rabid bat discovered in the Southwest District Health (SWDH) jurisdiction this season. The bat was found inside of an Adams County home where it had contact with a cat. The cat has been vaccinated against rabies in the past and boostered following the encounter. Those who were staying at the home are being assessed for potential exposure.

Without timely medical intervention, rabies infection is virtually 100 percent fatal in people and animals. Medical therapy given to people soon after a possible rabies exposure is extremely effective in preventing rabies. People should call their healthcare providers promptly if they believe they may have been bitten or scratched by a bat. In Idaho, rabid bats are typically reported between March and November. Last year, 14 bats tested positive for rabies statewide.

Bites are considered the primary way rabies is transmitted, but waking up in a room with a bat, without having a clear idea of the bat’s behavior during the night can also put people and pets at risk for rabies infection. Whenever possible, a bat found in an area (inside or outside) where people or pets may have been exposed should be captured and submitted for rabies testing. Bats are the only natural hosts for the virus in Idaho and should always be avoided. No area of the state is considered rabies-free.

The most common ways people may encounter a bat is when a pet finds a bat in the yard, brings one into the home or a bat enters a home through a small opening or open windows or doors. People may also wake up to find a bat in the room and cannot be sure they were bitten or not while they slept. Whenever possible, a bat found in an area (inside or outside) where people or pets may have been exposed should be captured and submitted for rabies testing. Specific steps for collecting a bat for testing can be found outlined in a video produced by The Idaho Department of Fish and Game: https://idfg.idaho.gov/blog/2017/06/i-found-bat-my-home-what-do-i-do

To protect yourself and your pets, SWDH offers the following tips:

  • Never touch a bat with your bare hands;
  • If you have had an encounter with a bat, seek medical attention;
  • Call your local public health district about testing a bat for rabies. If it is determined that you or your pet may be at risk of rabies, the bat can be tested for free through the state public health laboratory;
  • If you come in contact with a bat, save the bat in a container without touching it and contact your district health department to arrange testing for rabies. Whenever possible, the bat should be tested to rule out an exposure to rabies;
  • Always vaccinate your pets for rabies, including horses. Pets may encounter bats outdoors or in the home;
  • and Bat-proof your home or cabin by plugging all holes in the siding and maintaining tight-fitting screens on windows.

For more information on bats and rabies, visit www.cdc.gov/rabies. To track the number of rabid bats in Idaho, visit: http://www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Health/DiseasesConditions/RabiesInformation/tabid/176/Default.aspx

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Media Contacts:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Canyon County Monkeypox Disease Investigation Concluded

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Canyon County Monkeypox Disease Investigation Concluded 

CALDWELL, IDAHO – The epidemiologic disease investigation has been concluded for the probable case of monkeypox originally announced by Southwest District Health (SWDH) on July 29, 2022. Due to a laboratory error at the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (IBL), results for the Non Variola Orthopox (“monkeypox”) virus assay have been amended. Lab results have confirmed that, to date, there are zero (0) confirmed cases of monkeypox in the Southwest District Health region. The region Southwest District Health serves includes Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties, respectively. 

Southwest District Health urges the community to stay current on monkeypox trends in our area and to take steps to prevent monkeypox from taking hold in our community. Through informed decision making, individuals and families can reduce the risk of contracting and spreading monkeypox.  

SWDH encourages anyone who is experiencing an unexplained skin rash with or without a fever to contact their healthcare provider and avoid contact with others. If possible, call ahead before going to a healthcare facility. If you are not able to call ahead, tell a staff member as soon as you arrive that you are concerned about monkeypox. Tell your doctor if in the month before developing symptoms: 

Anyone who is ill with these symptoms is encouraged to follow SWDH and their healthcare provider’s advice to help prevent the spread to others. 

For more information on monkeypox please visit https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html.

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Southwest District Health Media Contacts:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

 

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Case of Monkeypox Reported in Canyon County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health (SWDH) is announcing the first case of monkeypox in its jurisdiction of an Idaho resident. The case was detected in Canyon County.

The investigation is ongoing. Local and state public health officials are working with the patient’s healthcare providers to ensure the patient is treated and any potential close contacts are identified and notified of exposure risk.

Testing for initial identification was performed at the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories, and samples are being sent to CDC for confirmation of the monkeypox virus; results from CDC are expected in the next week.

Monkeypox usually causes a mild illness, and most people recover on their own. Antivirals are available for patients who might have severe disease or develop complications. Southwest District Health recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox to reduce symptoms and prevent further spread in our community. Individuals with monkeypox should self-isolate until their lesions have fully healed with new skin where the lesions used to be.

 

How is monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox. We believe this is currently the most common way that monkeypox is spreading in the U.S.
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions.

 

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Close contacts should be monitored for symptoms for 21 days after their last exposure. Symptoms* of concern include:

  • Fever ≥100.4°F (38°C)
  • Chills
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • New skin rash – Rash may look like pimples or blisters.

*Fever and rash occur in nearly all people infected with monkeypox virus.

 

If symptoms develop, contacts should immediately self-isolate and call Southwest District Health for further guidance. Contacts who remain asymptomatic can continue routine daily activities.

 

How to prevent monkeypox?

Take the following steps to prevent monkeypox:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

 

What to do if you have symptoms of monkeypox?

SWDH encourages anyone who is experiencing an unexplained skin rash with or without a fever to contact their healthcare provider and avoid contact with others. If possible, call ahead before going to a healthcare facility. If you are not able to call ahead, tell a staff member as soon as you arrive that you are concerned about monkeypox. Tell your doctor if in the month before developing symptoms:

Anyone who is ill with these symptoms is encouraged to follow SWDH and their healthcare provider’s advice to help prevent the spread to others.

 

For more information on monkeypox please visit https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html.

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Southwest District Health Media Contacts:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

 

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Availability of monoclonal antibody treatment expands to North Nampa; vaccines continue to be best defense against COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Availability of monoclonal antibody treatment expands to North Nampa; vaccines continue to be best defense against COVID-19

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Starting December 1, 2021, a Saltzer Health urgent care clinic in Nampa will begin offering COVID-19 monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment. The treatment is available by appointment only, seven days a week at the Saltzer North Nampa clinic, 9850 W. St. Luke’s Drive. Patients must be referred by a health care provider. Treatments are given at no cost to the patient, and health insurance isn’t required.

While the vaccine continues to be the most effective method for preventing hospitalizations from COVID-19, monoclonal antibody (mAB) treatment could benefit Idahoans who have tested positive for the virus and are at risk for developing serious illness. Monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalization and death from COVID-19 if administered within 10 days of symptom onset to those who are considered at high risk for developing severe illness. The treatment is given as an IV infusion over 20 minutes, followed by a 1-hour observation period.

Monoclonal antibody treatment is recommended for people age 12 years and older who are at risk of progressing to severe disease or hospitalization due to COVID-19. Risk factors may include age (64 years or older), obesity; pregnancy; chronic kidney disease; diabetes; chronic lung disease; immunosuppressive disease; cardiovascular disease.

“While this treatment is not meant to replace vaccinations to prevent COVID, it has been proven as an effective treatment for COVID-infected patients to decrease hospitalization and death,” said Dr. John Kaiser, chief medical officer at Saltzer Health, an Intermountain Healthcare company.

The treatment is authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. Clinical trials showed monoclonal antibodies could reduce hospitalizations and deaths by 70%.

“Monoclonal antibody treatment will allow us to help people avoid hospitalization and reduce the disease burden in our community,” he said. “Saltzer Health is pleased to be able to minimize the impact of COVID on vulnerable patients and their families.”

The Saltzer Health mAb treatment center is operated under a contract with the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare. A provider referral is required to receive treatment. Those without a primary care provider can contact Saltzer Health for an appointment at 208-463-3000.

For those interested in getting vaccinated against COVID-19, please note that only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for emergency use (EUA) for those ages 5-16 and fully licensed for ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines are both authorized for emergency use in those 18-years and older. The CDC recommends all people 5 years and older get vaccinated against COVID-19, with booster shots recommended for eligible adults age 18 and older.

Making a COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Whether it’s your first dose, second dose, or booster dose, if you would like to be vaccinated against COVID-19, please call the Southwest District Health COVID-19 Call Center at 208-455-5411. To find a pediatric vaccination location near you, contact your child’s pediatrician, your family doctor, Southwest District Health, or visit Vaccines.gov.

Inquiries about the SWDH mobile vaccination team available free of charge to businesses or events within SWDH’s jurisdiction can be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center at 208-455-5411 Monday through Friday 8:30 AM-4:30 PM (MST) except for observed holidays.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information Resources

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Southwest District Health Media Contacts:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

Saltzer Health Media Contact:

Amy Stahl   ABStahl@SaltzerHealth.com

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Idaho public health officials confirm first COVID-19 child death

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Idaho public health officials confirm first COVID-19 child death

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and Southwest District Health (SWDH) have confirmed the first death of an Idaho child due to COVID-19. The child was an infant and died in October.

To protect the privacy of the child’s grieving family, no further details will be released to the public.

“Our hearts go out to the family of this child,” said Elke Shaw-Tulloch, administrator for the Idaho Division of Public Health. “Infection with the virus can have devastating impacts on families, and this situation highlights the seriousness of COVID-19.”

Nearly 900 COVID-19-related deaths have been reported among children in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic.

“We were saddened to hear of the loss of one of our newest community members. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family during this difficult time,” said Nikole Zogg, SWDH director.

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for parents and prospective parents, including pregnant women, who may also receive a COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for pregnant women, who may also receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect parents and prospective parents from severe illness from COVID-19, which can help protect babies and children who are too young to be vaccinated.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.

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Media Contacts: 

DHW Media Contact: Greg Stahl
Public Information Officer
208-334-0668

SWDH Media Contact: Ashley Anderson
Public Information Officer
Southwest District Health
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

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Vaccine appointments available at Southwest District Health for individuals aged 5 and older following Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 pediatric vaccine approval for children ages 5-11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Vaccine appointments available at Southwest District Health for individuals aged 5 and older following Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 pediatric vaccine approval for children ages 5-11

CALDWELL, IDAHO – COVID-19 vaccine appointments for individuals ages 5 and older are now available at Southwest District Health (SWDH). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 years. On Tuesday, November 2, 2021, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccine for children ages 5-11. This means that children 5-11 years and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine.

Before being authorized for children, scientists and medical experts completed their review of safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials of thousands of children. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was rigorously tested and reviewed, and over 11 million adolescents ages 12-17 have already safely received the COVID-19 vaccine. Parents are encouraged to do their own research on the safety, efficacy, and science behind COVID-19 vaccines.

Like the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 12 years and older, the two doses are administered at least 21 days apart. However, the pediatric vaccine for ages 5-11 is a different formulation and dose size than the vaccine for ages 12 years and older and requires different storage and handling practices.

Of note, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for emergency use (EUA) for those ages 5-16 and fully licensed for ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines are both authorized for emergency use in those 18-years and older. The CDC recommends all people 5 years and older get vaccinated against COVID-19, with booster shots recommended for certain eligible groups as well.

Making a COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Whether it’s your first dose, second dose, or booster dose, if you would like to be vaccinated against COVID-19, please call the Southwest District Health COVID-19 Call Center at 208-455-5411. To find a vaccination location near you for your child contact your child’s pediatrician, contact Southwest District Health, or visit Vaccines.gov.

Inquiries about the SWDH mobile vaccination team available free of charge to businesses or events within SWDH’s jurisdiction can be directed to the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center at 208-455-5411 Monday through Friday 8:30 AM-4:30 PM (MST) except for observed holidays.

Information Resources

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Media Contacts: 

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

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Rabid bats found in Canyon County; health officials urge caution around all bats

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Rabid bats found in Canyon County; health officials urge caution around all bats

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Two bats found at separate locations in Canyon County have tested positive for rabies according to Southwest District Health officials. One bat was found on the ground, alive, outside of an apartment complex. The other bat was found dead on the ground in a resident’s yard. Bats are the only natural hosts for the virus in Idaho and should always be avoided. No area of the state is considered rabies-free. While most bats do not carry rabies, we do see reports of rabies positive bats from March through November each year. Public health officials do see an uptick in exposure calls from late August through September when Idaho bats are often migrating. In 2020, there were 17 bats that tested positive for rabies in the state of Idaho. These 2 new positive bats bring the number of rabies positive bats to 13 so far this year for the state of Idaho. For more information on rabies data in the state of Idaho please visit Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s page on rabies: https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/health-wellness/diseases-conditions/rabies.

The most common ways people may encounter a bat is when a pet finds a bat in the yard, brings one into the home or a bat enters a home through a small opening or open windows or doors. People may also wake up to find a bat in the room and cannot be sure they were bitten or not while they slept. Whenever possible, a bat found in an area (inside or outside) where people or pets may have been exposed should be captured and submitted for rabies testing. Specific steps for collecting a bat for testing can be found outlined in a video produced by The Idaho Department of Fish and Game: https://idfg.idaho.gov/blog/2017/06/i-found-bat-my-home-what-do-i-do

To protect yourself and your pets, public health officials recommend these guidelines:

  • Never handle a bat with your bare hands.
  • If you have had any direct contact (especially if you have been bitten or scratched) with a bat or wake up to find
    a bat in your room, safely capture the bat while wearing thick gloves and then seek medical advice immediately.
    To capture a bat safely, follow Idaho Department of Fish and Games step by step instructions found here:
    https://idfg.idaho.gov/press/tips-safely-removing-bat-your-house. Once the bat is safely contained, call your local
    Department of Fish and Game office to discuss next steps.
  • Call your local public health district about testing a bat for rabies. If it is determined that you or your pet may be
    at risk of rabies, the bat can be tested for free through the state public health laboratory.
  • If you must handle a bat, always wear thick gloves.
  • If you find a bat outdoors on the ground away from any kind of roost that appears to be weak, sick or injured,
    and unable to fly, do not handle the bat with bare hands. Make sure the bat is safe from people, pets, and natural
    predators then contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for guidance.
  • If the bat is alive, follow the safe handling steps from The Idaho Department of Fish and Game mentioned in the
    above. Once safely contained, call your local Department of Fish and Game.
  • If the bat is dead, the bat should be safely handled with gloves and double-bagged and sealed in clear plastic
    bags. Once complete, call Southwest District Health Environmental Health Division.
  • Never put a live bat in a freezer to kill it.
  • Contact your local Idaho Department of Fish and Game office about bat-proofing your home. Maintain tightfitting screens on windows.
  • Vaccinate your dogs, cats, ferrets, and horses. Even indoor pets risk exposure to rabies if a bat gets into a home.
    Household pets and other animals can also be exposed to the virus by playing with sick bats that can no longer fly normally.
  • Teach your children to avoid bats and to let an adult know if they find one.

Without the proper medical management, rabies is a fatal viral illness. People should call their healthcare providers promptly if they believe they may have been bitten or scratched by a bat. Medical therapy administered to people after an animal bite or other exposure is extremely effective in preventing rabies.

For more information about rabies, call your local public health district or visit:

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Media Contacts: 

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

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New COVID-19 data collection tool launched

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


New
COVID-19 data collection tool launched

CALDWELL, IDAHO – COVID-19 incidence rates across the six-county region Southwest District Health (SWDH) serves remain high and hospital systems are seeing the impact. Southwest District Health serves Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties.

Since late July 2021, all counties in SWDH were categorized by the CDC as having high levels of community transmission. As of September 15, 2021, the district-wide COVID-19 incidence rate is 6.80 daily new cases per 10,000 residents and the most current test positivity rate is 18.35%.

A new tool in the fight against COVID-19: Self-report your COVID-19 experience

The combination of a sharp increase in COVID-19 positive cases and limited staffing has created a significant backlog in COVID-19 case investigations. Southwest District Health attempts to contact each new case to learn about their exposure, illness, treatment, and outcome. This core function of local public health is done to monitor disease trends in a community, provide data that can inform decisions, and communicate risks and prevention messages. The ideal outcome of SWDH’s work is to limit the spread of diseases within our community that often cause lasting disability or premature death.

Southwest District Health will be asking individuals with a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test to use a secure online form to share their COVID-19 experience. The form asks the same questions our disease investigators would go through, but due to our current situation, we are unable to contact every new case in a timely manner. This means that SWDH is not able to communicate important information about COVID-19 and is not able to collect essential information that when compiled with all other new cases, provides crucial information about severity of illness among specific populations (e.g., age group, occupation, ethnicity, etc.), exposure, vaccination breakthrough, and hospitalization.

Southwest District Health encourages residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to notify those they have been in close contact with up to two days prior to developing symptoms or testing positive. Since August 2021, SWDH has averaged over 150 daily reported new cases of COVID-19. Due to the number of new cases being reported each day, SWDH is unable to make timely contact and notification to close contacts. Close contacts should isolate at home for 14 days to help reduce the spread of the virus in our community.

“We are on a very concerning trajectory. Our hospitals are full, and we anticipate the situation will worsen before it improves. Southwest District Health is making every effort to provide accurate and timely data and information to our community, schools, businesses, and elected officials, but we cannot keep up with the current pace of new cases being reported each day. Our community can help us by making the decision to get vaccinated, staying home when sick, avoiding the emergency department unless it is necessary, and assisting Southwest District Health by providing timely information following a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test,” said Nikki Zogg, District Director.

Please call the SWDH COVID-19 Call Center 208-455-5411 to book your vaccine appointment or schedule a COVID-19 test. The Call Center is available Monday through Friday 8:30 AM-4:30 PM (MDT) except for observed holidays. Community members are encouraged to visit the SWDH COVID-19 Vaccine Webpage for helpful vaccine resources.

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Media Contacts: 

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

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