Public health orders shifted to advisories in Ada, Valley counties

Posted at 11:18 AM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 10:45:05-05

BOISE, Idaho — Central District Health had their regular board meeting Friday to discuss the vaccine distribution plan and considered amending current public health orders for Ada and Valley counties.

CDH voted to change the public health orders in Ada and Valley counties to public health advisories. A public health advisory is a set of strong recommendations and does not replace or supersede orders enacted by a city. The City of Boise does have a public health order in effect.

"The advisory focuses on wear a face covering that completely covers the nose and mouth at all times around anyone who is not a member of your household when practicing physical distancing of at least six feet cannot be maintained," said Russ Duke, Director of CDH.

Duke shared a revised version of the health advisory that was first issued on November 17, 2020. A news release says the advisory serves to advise communities on current conditions and ways to protect the health of the community. The advisory also aims to support hospitals so they can continue to provide appropriate levels of care.

Changes to the advisory include:

  • An emphasized need to protect residents who are 65+ who have not yet had the chance to receive vaccine, or have only received one dose
  • A more specific definition of appropriate and effective mask-wearing and added exceptions to mask-wearing
  • More specific guidance for indoor gatherings
  • Updated guidance for those participating in any sporting/community/extra-curricular activities to include wearing face coverings and keeping physical distancing
  • More detailed guidance for workplaces
  • Added recommendation to get the COVID-19 vaccine whenever it is your turn to get it
  • Removal of the section related to outings/activities/places of worship

The updated advisory will be in place until those 65 and older have had the opportunity to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, plus two weeks, and the two-week average daily case rate remains less than 30 cases per 100,000 population.

CDH said during the meeting that all four counties in their district are showing improvement in reported COVID-19 cases. Percent positivity shows testing is adequate for the amount of illness and hospitals are returning to pre-surge COVID-19 patient census levels.

The Idaho House Republican Caucus issued the following statement about the decision from CDH:

It’s taken too long, but we all are thankful that the CDH Board came to understand what our Caucus Members have understood for a long time, that we must believe in personal responsibility, not government mandates. In the Legislature, we will continue to work to make sure that any future emergencies will be handled in a way that is more responsive to Idahoans’ concerns.
Rep. Megan Blanskma, Idaho House Republican Caucus

In Ada County, a wastewater analysis showed low levels of California and the UK COVID-19 variants. The analysis showed low levels of the UK variant in Boise wastewater that accounted for 2% of the virus sequenced. The California variant also accounted for 2% of the virus sequenced from the wastewater.

CDH says the percentage of variant strains present in wastewater should be taken into consideration when making policy decisions.

There are 123 enrolled provider locations and 12 pending provider occasions in the district, according to CDH. Vaccine doses are shipped directly to the approved providers, per the weekly allocation plan.

Vaccine supply is still very limited at this time. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine in Idaho, click here.