BOISE, Idaho — UPDATE: The Central District Health board's public health order was voted down Tuesday. The board members tied the vote, therefore it was unable to pass. The public health advisory will remain in effect.
CDH Director Russ Duke said the majority of the comments the board received from the public have been in support of the public health order. Duke said those in opposition primarily commened on the desire to keep schools and businesses open, which are not impacted by the order.
The CDH Board of Health voted to not approve a districtwide public health order. The public health order for Ada County remains in place and the mask order remains in place for Valley County.— Central District Health (@CDHidaho) December 15, 2020
"It's not getting better, it's getting worse," Duke said.
Ted Epperly said CDH needs to continue to focus on two main things in order to keep the pandemic at bay.
"I think Central District Health needs to do two things here, because it's the only things we can do," he said. "We need to really push hard for education and accountability of the public in terms of mask wearing. The second thing we need to really stay focused on is group size limitations."
Board members expressed concern on enforcing an order on a population that doesn't want it, based on emails and communication from the public.
The Central District Health (CDH) board meets for the third time Tuesday to discuss and vote on a possible public health order.
CDH covers Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties.
The board was set to discuss the order last week, but Boise Police and Boise Mayor Lauren McLean asked them to stop due to safety concerns. A mostly peaceful protest happened at CDH in Boise. People also showed up at two board member's homes.
Boise Police will be at the meeting and officers are preparing for a large number of people to show up at CDH, according to a news release. BPD has protective fencing in place to help keep people in attendance safe.
The department will be assisted by Idaho State Police. The release says BPD's goal for the meeting is to ensure government can function and the people involved in the governmental process can do their job and ensure people can safely exercise their rights to free speech.
Boise Police and partner agencies are also working to ensure the safety of board members attending the meeting remotely. The department says in the release they are working with board members and their families about concerns for their safety at home and taking the necessary precautions.
"People involved in tonight’s meeting have felt threatened by protestors, our officers have also been the target of those threats," stated the release. "For that reason, today officers will be wearing identification numbers rather than their name tags. Those numbers will work the same way as a name if anyone needs to identify an officer during the event or after. The number tags also allow our officers to focus on the event at hand rather than worrying about their homes and their families. As we have seen in the past, protestors have shown up at community members homes, officers homes, and threatened to continue to do so."
The draft order posted on the CDH website includes:
- Gatherings larger than 10 people are prohibited.
- Everyone in all four counties is required to wear face coverings indoors and outdoors where social distancing cannot be maintained.
- Individuals should work from home wherever possible.
- Visits to long-term care facilities are prohibited.
- Businesses should implement curbside or delivery services, where possible.
- Restaurants must distance tables and allow groups no larger than 10 people, among other requirements.
- Gyms and other fitness facilities cannot have more than 50% capacity and maintain social distancing
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine arrived in Idaho Monday and several healthcare workers have already received it. The vaccine will first go to healthcare workers directly working with COVID-19 patients. Residents and staff of long-term care facilities will receive the vaccine next, possibly as soon as the second week of vaccine allocations.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. on December 15. It will be live-streamed on YouTube, and there is a viewing room available at CDH with limited seating. Face coverings are required, and attendees must follow specific requirements outlined here.