Idaho Enters Stage 2: A Thank You from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen 

The Choices We Make Determine Our Future

Gov. Brad Little announced at his press conference yesterday that Idaho has met the criteria that allows the state to move to Stage 2 of the reopening of Idaho.

Thanks to the people of Idaho, who have closely followed the recommended precautions, we are moving through the stages as planned. As the Governor said, we control the outcome. We control our future. The choices I make, and the choices you make, determine what happens in Idaho.

It is very important to continue to do the following:

  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Wear a cloth face covering in public (this helps protect others)
  • Keep six feet between you and others
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Disinfect surfaces and objects regularly
  • Stay home if you are ill

Stage 2 Begins Tomorrow

The guidelines for reopening Idaho are available on rebound.idaho.gov. In Stage 2, starting Saturday, May 16:

  • Restaurants can open for dine-in as long as protocols are followed.
  • Indoor gyms, recreation facilities, hair salons and other close contact services can open as long as protocols are followed.
  • Bars should begin making plans to open in Stage 3.

The 14-day self-quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers coming to Idaho also has been modified. Only visitors from hot spots – places with prevalent community spread – are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after entering the state.

Small Business Support

If you are a small business in need of personal protective equipment for your employees, you can place an order for masks, gloves, and sanitizer through supplies.idaho.gov. Small businesses can also apply for grants to help them in their economic recovery. I am grateful that Gov. Brad Little wants to give the small businesses, the backbone of our economy, the state’s full support. No other state is doing as much for small businesses as the great state of Idaho.

COVID-19 Data Can Be Messy to Collect

We get many, many questions through our COVID-19 Hotline, social media, emails, and phone calls related to the COVID-19 data that is available at coronavirus.idaho.gov. The virus is new, and the information we are learning about it changes rapidly. More and more hospitals and labs are reporting to us, and we regularly receive new and varied data from a variety of sources. It’s happening at a frantic pace.

Typically, because the data can be messy while it is being collected, epidemiological data is shared after the data has been fully scrubbed and enough time passed to be sure it has all been reported. In the case of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, that would mean the data would be shared days or even weeks after it was first collected.

However, given that this is a pandemic, we decided to share the data as quickly as we receive it, almost real-time. That means that numbers can change, sometimes often. The collection of epidemiological data is fluid, not stagnant. But we would rather report the data as we receive it than make you wait days or weeks to see it.

We are fortunate that we have a team of epidemiologists to lead us through the COVID-19 pandemic and analyze the data appropriately. This means that even though the data collection is messy, the decisions the data help inform are being made on a firm foundation.

Watch this blog next week, when Division of Public Health staff will share how they use data to determine the COVID-19 impact on Idaho. It will be an important and interesting overview for all of us.

Thanks To You, We’re On The Right Track

The federal government has held Idaho’s staged reopening as an example of how staged reopenings should work in the United States. Thanks to you, we are on the right track to safely and responsibly open Idaho.

 

 

 

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