Southwest District Health issued a public health advisory for all six of the district's counties that goes into effect immediately.
The advisory is in place for Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington Counties. The advisory comes as coronavirus cases continue to climb and place increasing demands on hospitals, according to SWDH. A backlog of case investigations and contact tracing have pushed investigators to prioritize incoming work, the health district announced Friday.
The district issued an advisory, not a mandate, and is strongly urging the public and businesses to take action regarding the "significant public health risk."
The advisory states individuals:
- Wear a face covering at all times around anyone who is not a member of your household when physical distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained. The only exceptions are for children younger than age 2, people who have trouble breathing, people who cannot remove the mask without assistance, or people who are obtaining a service involving the nose, face, or head for which temporary removal of the face-covering is necessary to perform the services.
- Work from home, if possible.
- Minimize non-essential travel.
- Suspend visits to congregate living facilities.
- Avoid social gatherings, including among family members who do not live in your household.
- Anyone age 65 and older, or who smokes, or with a health condition that puts them at risk for severe outcomes, avoid close contact with anyone other than immediate household members except for necessary services, such as accessing healthcare.
Outings, activities and businesses:
- Businesses implement delivery/curbside services.
- Places of worship implement hybrid (in-person and virtual) or virtual services.
- Discontinue youth and adult sports/activities in which physical distancing is not possible.
- Discontinue school extracurricular activities of all types in which physical distancing cannot be maintained AND where physical distancing can be maintained but the activity requires increased breathing, such as choir and band.
- Bars, restaurants, breweries/taprooms/wineries/distilleries – all patrons must remain seated while consuming food or drink or when otherwise remaining on the premises, except for when entering, exiting, or using the restroom; seating must be arranged so that tables are spaced at least six feet apart; nightclubs may continue to operate as a bar but must comply with the requirements of the Stage 2 Stay Healthy Order.
The advisory will remain in effect until a county can return to the orange health alert level. To do so, the coronavirus cases must have a two-week rate of fewer than 3 cases per 10,000 people daily.
If any of the major hospital systems in the area — St. Luke's, Saint Alphonsus or West Valley Medical Center — implement crisis standards of care as authorized by the state, additions could be made to the advisory.