BOISE, Idaho — Ada County announced in a press release Wednesday that all employees and visitors are required to wear a face-covering at all times while visiting or working at Ada County facilities. Wearing a covering, along with frequent hand washing and social distancing from others while in public allows the public to protect themselves, their families and our community.
Right now, Ada County is in stage three of reopening as ordered by Central District Health (CDH). The Ada County Board of Commissioners is emphasizing the need to follow protocols established by public health officials so the county can move forward to stage four.
County officials received questions from the public on the needs of these public safety measures. Listed below are two questions and the response from public health experts at CDH. More FAQs on the public health order can be found by clicking here.
Q: Why can’t we just get COVID, develop herd immunity and move on?
A: Not everyone has a mild illness – we have an obligation to protect our most vulnerable residents and see that if they do get sick they receive the care they need. We must also take measures to ensure that our health care system is in a position to provide necessary care to anyone who needs it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that although the presence of antibodies when detected can indicate at least some degree of immunity, until it’s better determined how long and to what degree immunity happens with COVID, it can’t be assumed that individuals with truly positive antibody test results are protected from future infection.
Q: Why are you doing this since hospitals are not inundated with patients? Why are you moving the goal posts?
A: It is very fortunate that despite the increased cases we are seeing, that illness severity has been mild to moderate so far.
· In part, because of that mild illness, what we are seeing through case investigations is that these individuals have had many contacts while they have been infectious – they’re out in the community not realizing they’re infectious and they’re visiting elderly relatives, socializing with friends and co-workers. They are unknowingly exposing a host of people in their lives to the virus.
· The increase in cases locally could prove particularly challenging for individuals at much higher risk for severe illness. This often means a greater number of hospitalizations and potentially more unfavorable outcomes.
· Ultimately we are not trying to prevent all infections from happening – but we are trying to prevent the hospitals from being overwhelmed, which could happen very quickly. The move back to Stage 3 was done in consultation with our hospital systems to moderate the case counts and prevent that from happening.