We must remain diligent in our fight against COVID-19: A reminder from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

Across the United States — from news organizations, healthcare organizations, and public health departments – the message is clear, we must remain diligent against COVID-19, particularly as cases continue to rise and hospitals fill up. As winter approaches and Americans grow weary of masks and physical distancing, we cannot let up. We must not let our guard down. We must continue to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities from this virus.

If we tire of taking preventative measures, then we run the risk of seeing our friends and family unnecessarily exposed. One third of Idahoans have underlying health conditions, which means all of us interact with someone who is at high risk of a severe case of COVID-19 if infected.

I know that it is not always easy to follow the recommended precautions, particularly when we participate in small social gatherings or family get-togethers. This will be especially true as we head into the holidays. But it is precisely those friends and family you protect when you wear a mask, maintain six feet of distance, cover coughs and sneezes, wash your hands often, and stay home when you’re sick.

Thank you for doing your part to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Families can now apply for funds to assist with their children’s education

Idaho families can apply for federal coronavirus relief funds to assist with their children’s education on the State Board of Education’s Strong Families, Strong Students website: https://www.strongfamilies.idaho.gov

Each eligible family can receive $1,500 per school-age student, up to a maximum award of $3,500 per family. 

The funds can be used to make purchases on the Strong Families, Strong Students online marketplace for such things as computer hardware, software, and other devices including adaptive learning technology, internet connectivity, instructional materials, and fees for courses, tutoring services, educational services and therapies, and licensed daycare during work hours.

Enrollment is open from Oct. 21, 2020, to Dec. 8, 2020. Awards will be issued based on economic need and on a first-come, first-served basis for those who qualify.

Questions can be directed to Strongfamilies@osbe.idaho.gov

Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee established

The Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee, recently established by Gov. Brad Little, will advise the Governor and assist state and local entities on vaccine implementation strategies to make sure there is vaccination coverage throughout Idaho when a safe and effective vaccine becomes available.

While Idaho has experience in prioritizing scarce medical supplies, developing prioritization plans for the H1N1 swine flu vaccine in 2009, and for the antiviral remdesivir to treat COVID-19 earlier this year, the level of vaccine distribution in this pandemic will be unparalleled in Idaho.

Committee members represent stakeholders from across Idaho, including the tribes, priority populations, healthcare systems and providers, and immunization organizations. They will lend their broad expertise to best enhance Idaho’s vaccine distribution plan in adherence with federal guidance and requirements.

The initial supply of vaccine is expected to be limited. Although the federal government has not made the final decision yet, it is expected the vaccine likely will be offered first to healthcare workers. Vaccinating healthcare workers will help protect them as well as their patients.

Visit the website for additional information: https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/idaho-covid-19-vaccine-advisory-committee/

Get Tested COVID-19 to help Idahoans find testing in their communities

Have you ever had trouble finding where you, a family member, or a friend could get tested for COVID-19? DHW is partnering with Get Tested COVID-19 to maintain an active, accurate database for designated COVID-19 testing centers in Idaho.

Get Tested COVID-19 is a volunteer, community-led project founded to help people across the nation find COVID-19 testing centers in their communities.

Idahoans can visit get-tested-covid19.org and type in their ZIP code. The site will show a list and map of testing centers within 40 miles of the ZIP code entered. The site provides information on the testing centers, such as if an order is needed to get a test, if the site takes walk-ins or appointment must be scheduled, if drive-through testing is available, and basic information including hours of operation, and directions to the testing location.

Have a safe and healthy weekend. #MaskUpIdaho #GetAFluShot #YourIdahoMyIdaho #ONEIdaho 

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