As summer slowly turns to fall, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic that has impacted almost 7 million Americans. And, in October, our flu season will begin. Because both COVID-19 and the flu will be circulating in Idaho, the concern is that could overburden our healthcare system. As if that’s not enough, as you have heard on the news every day, wildfires in Idaho and surrounding states are destroying homes and livelihoods, ravaging our beautiful forest lands, and – heartbreakingly – taking lives.
No question about it; 2020 has tested our limits of hope, courage, and – most of all – patience. We all hope for better days in 2021, but if 2021 is to serve as the light at the end of this tunnel, there are a few things we can do to help usher in a healthy new year.
- Get your flu shot. Flu shots are available now at pharmacies, grocery stores, and primary care clinics. Because of the pandemic, this is more important than ever. If you have questions about the flu shot, please reach out to your doctor.
- For both the flu and COVID-19, follow recommended precautions (I can’t say this enough): Wash your hands often, keep six feet between yourself and others in public places, wear masks/face coverings in public, and cover coughs and sneezes.
- Although we hope the fires are soon under control, the smoke impacts the air quality here in Idaho. You can follow air quality reports through the Idaho Smoke Information Blog. Please protect yourself and your family by following recommendations from DEQ.
Idaho to remain in Stage 4
Gov. Brad Little announced this afternoon that Idaho will remain in Stage 4 of the Idaho Rebounds plan for another two weeks. He said the metrics are very encouraging, but the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is still too high statewide. This is no time to let our guards down, he stressed. The reason those metrics are mostly headed in the right direction is because of all of you who have decided to follow the recommended guidelines. Please continue to wear a mask, keep 6 feet between you and others, stay home if you feel sick, and wash your hands often.
New information on coronavirus.idaho.gov
If you have visited the coronavirus website recently, you will notice that we have posted new information we would like to share with you:
- A new Behavioral Health tab – Under this tab, you can find information related to counseling assistance for frontline workers, how to identify behavioral health distress among your family and friends, resources for parents, and much more. If you have any questions, please feel free to email email@example.com or call 1-833-644-8296.
- A new Testing tab – Under this tab, you will find:
- The new and improved COVID-19 data dashboard now also includes new age categories for COVID-19 cases, historical incident rate per 100,000 people at the state and county level, testing positivity rate by public health district, and the number of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) cases in Idaho.
- And the home page of the website has been re-organized to help users more easily find the daily COVID-19 numbers and link to the new data dashboard.
Have a safe and healthy weekend, and #MaskUpIdaho.