Health alert levels remain unchanged across the six-county jurisdiction of Southwest District Health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Health alert levels remain unchanged across the six-county jurisdiction of Southwest District Health

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Daily incidence rates of COVID-19 remain at an elevated level across the district. This is based on data available for the date range December 6, 2020 – December 19, 2020. Currently, all six-counties within the jurisdiction of Public Health District 3 are at the red health alert level. As of December 19, 2020, the daily district-wide incident rate per 10,000 population is 8.12.

As a reminder, all six counties in the district are now experiencing 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. This is an achievable goal that can be met by making a choice. The choice to socially distance from people outside your household, wearing a face-covering, staying home when sick or exposed to COVID-19, and washing your hands frequently.

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 an increasing incidence rate, and a high percentage of cases resulting from community transmission. Adams County saw an increase in daily COVID-19 incidence, which brings the most recent incidence rate to 8.74 daily new cases per 10,000 people.[1] Some of these new cases can be traced to travel and community events. Evidence collected through investigations during the two-week period show sustained community transmission in Adams County, as only 74.36% of cases can identify a potential exposure source. Additionally, the test positivity rate for Adams County is 19.63%, which more than doubled over the past week. Multiple schools in Adams County are reporting sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with one school experiencing a cluster outbreak.

CANYON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Canyon County will remain in the red health alert level due to an increasing COVID-19 daily incidence rate and high positivity rate. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 8.40 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is increasing slightly. Only 59.41% of COVID-19 cases have reported knowing where they were exposed, which points to sustained community spread. SWDH investigators are continuing to see cases exposed through social gatherings as well as in workplaces and households. Additionally, the test positivity rate in Canyon County is 19.48%, which is increasing and concerning SWDH epidemiologists. Eighteen congregate living facilities are reporting cluster outbreaks.[2] Healthcare facilities in Canyon County are postponing elective surgeries to conserve resources and are periodically unable to take new patients in their emergency departments, and behavioral health, pediatric, and intensive care units. Additionally, multiple schools in Canyon County are reporting a cluster outbreak, with transmission occurring within the schools.

[1] 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.”

GEM COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Gem County will remain in the red health alert level, due to a high daily incidence rate and positivity rate. Gem County has a daily incidence rate of 9.35 daily cases per 10,000 people and a test positivity rate of 22.49%. While these metrics are trending down, they are still much higher than we would like to see. Three congregate care facilities in Gem County are facing a sustained COVID-19 outbreak. 63.44% 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, out of state travel, and local businesses. Multiple schools in Gem County are reporting cluster outbreaks with transmission occurring within the schools.

OWYHEE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Owyhee County remains in the red health alert level, due to a high COVID-19 daily incidence rate and positivity rate, as well as evidence of community spread. Owyhee County currently has a daily incidence rate of 5.56 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing but remains elevated. Only 61.54% of cases can identify an exposure source, which points to sustained community transmission. Additionally, the test positivity rate is 13.66% which is trending down but still shows that COVID-19 is much more prevalent in the community than our data show. SWDH epidemiologists are seeing cluster outbreaks in Owyhee County primarily from social gatherings, workplaces, and household exposure. Multiple schools in Owyhee County are reporting sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with a cluster outbreak within one school.

PAYETTE COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Payette County will remain in the red health alert level, due to an elevated COVID-19 daily incidence rate and positivity rate. Payette County has a daily incidence rate of 5.61 daily new cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing. Only 52.56% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread. SWDH epidemiologists are concerned by cluster outbreaks within local workplace settings, including Idaho and Oregon workplaces, as well as travel. Payette County has a test positivity rate of 19.83%, which is remaining elevated and shows that COVID-19 is more prevalent in the community than our data show. Many Payette County schools are seeing sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with no evidence of transmission within the schools.

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Washington County will remain in the red health alert level, due to a high daily incidence rate and a high positivity rate. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 8.30 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing but still extremely high. The positivity rate for Washington County is 22.62%, which is decreasing, but still shows that COVID-19 is much more prevalent in the community than our data show. Only 66.97% of confirmed cases know where they were exposed to COVID-19, which points to sustained community spread. SWDH epidemiologists are seeing transmission occurring primarily within households and workplaces. Multiple Washington County schools are seeing sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with no evidence of transmission within the schools.

WEEKLY CASES BY SCHOOL DISTRICT
The following table represents data on confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases among students and staff where investigations began between December 13, 2020 and December 19, 2020.

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 8:00 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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