TWIN FALLS — As case numbers continue to rise, the Twin Falls City Council has asked the public for assistance in an attempt to limit exposure to COVID and help flatten the curve.
According to recent numbers from the South Central Public Health District, there are 897 confirmed cases in Twin Falls County. With such high numbers, city officials hope residents will take safety precautions more seriously.
City Manager, Travis Rothweiler, said, "We're watching significant spikes in increases. The last number I saw was that more than 25-30% of our total COVID-19 cases have occurred within the last two weeks. So I think the time that we're at right now is pretty unprecedented."
While all protocols are important, like handwashing and being mindful of social distancing, city leaders stress the significance of wearing masks by comparing numbers of fatal vehicle collisions to COVID deaths.
"Over the course of the last three years, Idaho has had about 660 total fatalities on all Idaho roadways. As we approach that number with COVID in just seven months, I think it's important to exercise the appropriate safety precautions. Just as we wear a seat belt, and just as we click it in when we go for a drive. We should get very used to wearing a mask," said Rothweiler.
While the council is encouraging facemasks, it discourages other residents from imposing different beliefs or philosophies on others. Instead, respect other people's decisions.
The council is also not having discussions on implementing any facemask mandates or ordinances due to the difficulties of enforcing such policies. City leaders acknowledged that the city of Twin is a small piece of the equation, and to have an ordinance of that magnitude work effectively. It would take a regional response.
"We're hoping that we can generate compliance through that simple neighborly approach in Twin Falls. That we all take a look at what we need to do, to rally together to bend the curve," said Rothweiler.
There is a concern about the upcoming holidays like Halloween,
Thanksgiving, and Christmas, a popular time for social gatherings and outings. City officials feel it is imperative for people to be safe. "There will always be a holiday season, and there will always be another opportunity for family gatherings," said Rothweiler.
Dr. Joshua Kern of St. Luke's also weighed in on the upcoming holiday season, saying, "I can't imagine how catastrophic it can get if everyone just totally lets go of the precautions and it really wildly spreads through the community."