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Southwest District Health – Immediate Release Update – Red Health Alert Level Maintained

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 17, 2020
Red health alert level maintained 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 November 29, 2020 – December 12, 2020. All six counties within the jurisdiction of Public Health District 3 are at the red health alert level. As of December 12, 2020, the daily
district-wide incident rate per 10,000 is 8.21. 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. 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 listed below.
ADAMS COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Adams County will remain in the red health alert level, with a decreasing incidence rate, and a high percentage of cases resulting from community transmission. Adams County saw a decrease in daily COVID-19 incidence, which brings the most recent incidence rate to 4.87 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 50.00% of cases can identify a potential exposure source. Additionally, the test positivity rate for Adams County is 7.35% which is trending
down. While there have been some COVID-19 cases in Adams County schools, there is no evidence of cluster outbreaks or transmission within the schools.

CANYON COUNTY – Health Alert Level: Red
Canyon County will remain in the red health alert level due to a high COVID-19 daily incidence rate and positivity rate. Canyon County has a daily incidence rate of 8.32 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is trending down slightly. Only 61.54% 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 and community gatherings as well as in workplaces and households. Additionally, the test positivity rate in Canyon County is 20.78% 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. Additionally, multiple schools in Canyon County are reporting an outbreak or transmission
within the school.

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 11.00 daily cases per 10,000 people and a test positivity rate of 22.58%. 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. 65.98% 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 social gatherings. 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, increasing positivity rate, and evidence of community spread. Owyhee County currently has a daily incidence rate of 7.01 daily cases per 10,000 people, which remains elevated. Only 55.91% of cases can identify an exposure source,
which points to sustained community transmission. Additionally, the test positivity rate is 32.16% which 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 travel 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 6.59 daily new cases per 10,000 people which is decreasing. Only 57.59% 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 social gatherings. Payette County has a test positivity rate of 20.33%, 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 an increasingly high positivity rate. Washington County currently has a daily incidence rate of 9.63 daily cases per 10,000 people, which is decreasing but still extremely high. The positivity rate for Washington County is 30.95%,
which increased dramatically and shows that COVID-19 is much more prevalent in the community than our data show. Only 67.20% 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
through community transmission. Multiple Washington County schools are seeing sporadic, imported cases of COVID-19 with transmission occurring within one school.

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 5, 2020 and December 12, 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://phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/. Please
visit https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ for statewide information. Questions may be directed to the SWDH COVID19 Call Center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 208-455-5411.

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