DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Please honor dads and granddads safely this weekend

The pandemic is not over. As states began to reopen, we are seeing increasing activity in Utah and Oregon, and in Idaho, we have seen the number of cases in our state increase over the past few days.

Because there is no vaccine or proven therapeutic interventions at this time, we have to take other precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state. It is up to each of us to protect our friends, families, neighbors, and community. You have heard these recommendations before, but they are worth repeating because they are more important than ever:

  • 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

Nationally, approximately 41 percent of cases are found in adults between the ages of 18 and 44. Several states are seeing a concerning recent trend with increasing cases among those under 40.

 In our own state, 49 percent of known cases are in Idahoans under the age of 40. Younger adults often feel invincible or have heard that having COVID-19 may not be a serious condition for them. It’s true that approximately 80 percent of cases are mild, but there are severe cases in all age ranges.

My ask to you is for you to do your part to slow the spread of the virus to others. Remind younger adults that although they may have mild symptoms or be asymptomatic, the people they encounter may not be so fortunate. Young adults may have jobs where they are in contact with vulnerable adults, or they may be living with parents, or visiting with grandparents. It is up to all of us to protect our most vulnerable residents.

That is definitely something to think about as we head into this Father’s Day weekend, when I hope you’ll get to spend some time with your families. The best gift we can all give our fathers and grandfathers is to do our best to keep them safe and follow the recommended guidelines as we honor them this weekend.

Thank you for doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Idaho.

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