Have a safe Fourth of July weekend: A message from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

This upcoming holiday weekend is a test for all of us. Can we enjoy our beautiful state, spend time with family, take a vacation, and still keep ourselves and communities safe from the spread of COVID-19?

The answer is: We can. I hope you will remember to do your part this weekend to keep Idaho open and protect our vulnerable loved ones. It’s a personal choice, but I hope you take that choice seriously. Because COVID-19 is no joke.

We need to slow the spread

We know that the majority of new cases are in Ada County and, in particular, there is a surge in new cases among young adults. Central Health District made the tough but appropriate and critical decision to move Ada County back to Stage 3 through a new Order.

Because of the continued increase in cases among young adults in many counties across the state, it is more important than ever to encourage young adults to take recommended precautions to protect those who are vulnerable in our state. We need to protect our parents and grandparents. We need to protect those with immunosuppressed systems. We need to show our families, friends, and communities that we understand we are all in this together, and we will do whatever we can to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Young adults may show very few symptoms and may even be asymptomatic, but they can spread the virus to others who may be more vulnerable. Let’s work together to keep our families safe. It really does take all of us.

Continue reading “Have a safe Fourth of July weekend: A message from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen”

DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Stage 4 pause means it’s more important than ever to follow the guidelines

Gov. Brad Little announced Thursday that Idaho did not meet the metrics needed to move out of the final stage of the Idaho Rebounds plan. Idaho will stay in the final stage of the Idaho Rebounds plan for at least another two weeks.

Idaho did not meet the epidemiologic and healthcare criteria to advance past Stage 4:

  • The number of reported cases from June 10-25 trended upward instead of downward.
  • The percent of positive tests from June 8-21 trended upward instead of downward.
  • The average percent positive for the prior 14-day period was greater than 5-percent at 5.12-percent.
  • The number of healthcare workers reported with COVID-19 from June 10-23 trended upward, and the average number of healthcare workers reported having COVID-19 per day was greater than the standard of 2.

He also announced that the state’s COVID-19 response will transition to a more regional approach as the number of cases in some counties has increased significantly, but several others have had no reports of COVID-19 cases. The seven local public health districts across the state are continually evaluating the criteria at the local level and will announce any changes in moving forward.

What this all means is that it remains critical for everyone – especially those who are 18-29 years old — to follow the recommended guidelines and stay home if you’re sick, wear a face covering and keep six feet apart in public, and wash your hands frequently. It’s also a good idea to avoid large gatherings of people to help reduce your personal risk of getting COVID-19.

The ultimate goal is to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep us within the capacity of our healthcare system so people who do need hospital-level care can get it when they need it.

Idaho’s success depends on us all.

Continue reading “DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Stage 4 pause means it’s more important than ever to follow the guidelines”

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.

Continue reading “DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Please honor dads and granddads safely this weekend”

DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Let’s All Do Our Part to Keep Idaho Open

Yesterday, Gov. Brad Little announced that Idaho will enter Stage 4 of the Idaho Rebounds Plan to safely and responsibly open the economy in stages. However, it’s important to note that Idaho barely met the criteria established by our state’s public health team, so it is more important than ever to follow recommended precautions so we can keep Idaho open.

  • 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.

On Saturday, 100 percent of businesses will be able to open their doors as we enter Stage 4 of our Idaho Rebounds plan. That means:

  • Visits to senior living facilities and other congregate facilities can resume, under strict protocols to protect residents and workers.
  • Nightclubs may operate with precautionary measures in place.
  • Large venues such as sporting events can operate under protocols, including physical distancing.
  • Employers can resume unrestricted staffing but should continue to practice physical distancing and sanitation, including the use of teleworking where practical. Special accommodations for individuals at higher risk for severe illness should be made.
  • Travel can continue to locations that have no ongoing virus transmission.
  • Gatherings of any size can occur as long as physical distancing and precautionary measures can occur.
Continue reading “DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Let’s All Do Our Part to Keep Idaho Open”

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.

Continue reading “DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Staying Safe During Stage 3 and Contact Tracing”

DHW Director Jeppesen: Idaho Enters Stage 3 of Gov. Little’s Rebound Plan on May 30

Yesterday, Gov. Brad Little announced that Idaho has met the criteria that allows the state to move to Stage 3 of the reopening of Idaho. Beginning Saturday, May 30:

  • Bars can open their doors, as long as protocols to protect workers and the public are followed.
  • Movie theaters can open in Stage 3 instead of Stage 4, as long as protocols are followed.
  • Gatherings of up to 50 people can occur, where appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures are observed.
  • Only out-of-state travelers from areas of high spread should quarantine for 14 days after entering Idaho.

As Gov. Little said at his press conference Thursday, the health of Idahoans and Idaho’s economic rebound are not mutually exclusive – they are interconnected. Because of this, I am encouraging Idahoans to continue following 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

One of the strengths of Idahoans is our ability to rise to any occasion. When we are asked to follow guidelines to protect our neighbors and friends, we do. Our ability to navigate this pandemic is directly related to our ability to remain flexible in how we live and how we engage with others. Almost weekly, Idahoans have adapted to new ways of living and working. I appreciate and respect those efforts.

Continue reading “DHW Director Jeppesen: Idaho Enters Stage 3 of Gov. Little’s Rebound Plan on May 30”

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

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