Central District Health: It's time to move public health advisory to an order

Posted at 7:17 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 13:42:54-05

Central District Health voted to change the current public health advisory to an order and will reconvene Friday to take action.

Dr. Ted Epperly motioned to change the advisory to an order, including taking a "look at enforcement action on some capacity." The board voted to meet on Friday to look at a drafted order from CDH Director Russ Duke and his office.

Officials said despite originally planning that crisis standards of care would trigger the advisory to become an order, they do not want to wait until the situation is a crisis.

"We really need to work immediately to slow the growth. We've pushed out the information through the advisory for all four of our counties," Duke said. "The steps that we need to take right now to avoid having more drastic measures taken in the future. I really think if the trends continue in the direction they are, the advisory will be a starting point for what we will need to do as far as implementing strict orders to try and slow this down."

Russ said there is currently a draft of the order based off of the existing advisory and the board will meet Friday to take action. The time will allow local elected officials to see and comment on it on the draft before Friday's meeting. The board voted to meet Friday as opposed to next week to discuss moving to an order.

Officials said the order, should it become one, would need to include all four of Central District Health's counties — Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley — in order to be effective.

Part of the proposed order could include additional enforcement of the orders as well, but with hopes local agencies and counties will comply.

"When you see the hospital impact here in the valley and around the state and around the country, it's not going to be an easy solution to just move patients to other communities," Duke said. "We're certainly the hub for the southern part of the state as far as hospital care... so that's definitely something we need to keep in mind and not wait until we get to that point, the point of no return. Crisis standards of care gets implemented and care suffers, not only for COVID patients but for everything else."

More: Central District Health implements public health advisory, could turn to order if cases don't decline

The original advisory "strongly encouraged" residents to:

  • Wear a face covering at all times when around someone who is not a member of the same household and when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Work from home
  • Minimize non-essential travel
  • Suspend visits to congregate living facilities
  • Avoid social gatherings, including gatherings with family members from outside the household
  • Anyone over the age of 65, smokes or has a health condition that puts them at risk should avoid close contact with others outside their household

And recommended outings, activities and businesses:

  • Businesses should implement a delivery/curbside service
  • Places of worship implement virtual services
  • Discontinue youth and adult sports or activities where physical distancing is not possible
  • Discontinue school extracurricular activities where physical distancing cannot be maintained, or where the activity requires increased breathing, such as choir and band
  • Bars, restaurants, breweries/taprooms/wineries/distilleries should be carryout only and close at 10 p.m.
  • Gyms and other fitness or group exercise facilities limit capacity to no more than 50%

Watch the full CDH meeting here.