DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Staying Safe During Stage 3 and Contact Tracing

Thanks to all Idahoans, we are now halfway through Stage 3. Rebound.idaho.gov has numerous protocols available to help businesses reopen safely, including guidance for safe campgrounds, outfitting services, agricultural workers, indoor movie theatres, and much more.

Although it has been said many times, it’s important to remind everyone that the continued reopening of Idaho depends on you. Please follow the recommended precautions:

  • Keep at least six feet between you and others in public
  • Wear face coverings in public places (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus, and do not know it, from transmitting it to others)
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Disinfect surfaces and objects regularly

With your support and commitment, we will be able to continue the reopening of Idaho.

Contact Tracing is Not Tracking

This past Tuesday, Dieuwke Dizney-Spencer, deputy administrator for the Division of Public Health, shared a blog post defining contact tracing and what it means to the people of Idaho. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, contact tracing is a way for you to show those you had contact with that you care about them and their health. Through contact tracing, people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 can make decisions about their own health and potential exposures.

In Idaho, we have a data management tool that helps public health staff manage information for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. It does not track patient movements, use involuntary processes, or retain information about anyone after they recover, or it is clear that they are not infected.  We hope you will respond if and when you are contacted by someone from public health to discuss your possible exposure to COVID-19. Because wouldn’t you want to know if someone you were in close contact with became sick?

Justice for George Floyd

I want to express my sincere sympathy to George Floyd’s family for all they are going through. I also want to echo Gov. Brad Little’s comments on Twitter, “We can all unite around our demand for justice … I’m proud of the Idahoans who have channeled their sorrow and anger in peaceful protest.“ His death has changed us all, and I hope we can work together for a different future for all who have felt marginalized.

The Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) is a safe place for everyone. We provide support to the most vulnerable residents of our state. We do it all with uncompromising compassion for those we serve. We will continue to help all Idahoans live their best lives to the best of our ability.

Stay safe and healthy this weekend.

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