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Teton County, in cooperation with local cities, Teton Valley Health and Eastern Idaho Public Health, has issued an urgent Public Health Advisory due to a major spike in local COVID-19 cases.

This Public Health Advisory Notice is of the highest level of importance and urgency. If the community does not take action to reduce COVID-19 spread and prevent additional case increases, the ability of our health care system to meet community needs will fall short. If this advisory is not taken seriously, additional actions could occur at the state or local level (including the schools) to protect the health of our citizens and their access to critical health care.

WHEREAS, on October 27, 2020, Governor Brad Little moved Idaho back into Stage 3 of his reopening plan and issued a STAY HEALTHY order limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings as well as instating new bar and restaurant restrictions. 

WHEREAS, on November 6, 2020, Eastern Idaho Public Health moved Teton County Idaho into the COVID-19 High Risk Category due to an accelerated level of local community transmission.

WHEREAS, Eastern Idaho Public Health and Teton Valley Health report that community transmission is widespread across all age groups and that exposure is occurring in many areas of the community where use of masks and social distancing is not occurring, such as small social and family visits, unsafe practices at work, and carpooling.

WHEREAS, Teton Valley Health reported a sharp increase in Teton County’s positivity rate to 25% for the week of November 1st, indicating that COVID-19 is much more prevalent in the community.

WHEREAS, on November 8, 2020, Teton County reached a record high of 48.6 in its active rate per 10,000 people. Should the active rate continue to increase at the current trajectory, Teton County will be in the Critical Risk category by mid-week. The Critical Risk category is the highest warning level and indicates that community spread is at a tipping point.

WHEREAS, Face coverings are currently required to be worn while in public places throughout Teton County Idaho based on an Eastern Idaho Public Health Order issued on October 1, 2020 and local ordinances.

NOW, THEREFORE, in consultation with Teton Valley Health and Eastern Idaho Public Health, citizens of Teton County Idaho are hereby advised to URGENTLY take these ADDITIONAL STEPS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK to being exposed to or spreading COVID-19 by taking the following precautions:

• Wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing when in settings (both private and public) with people not in your immediate household, including when you may feel “safe” from COVID19 exposure. Examples of these settings include small social events, intimate dinner parties, kids’ birthday and sleepover parties, carpooling, and working with a close co-worker.

• Maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet from individuals outside of your immediate household.

• Minimize non-essential trips, errands, and gatherings.

• Essential activities include examples such as grocery shopping, going to the bank, going to

the doctor, getting gas, collecting curbside take out from a local restaurant, going to school, and recreating outdoors while practicing physical distancing.

• Grocery stores continue to be restocked on a regular basis. There is no need to hoard supplies.

Regardless of which risk category Teton County is in, continue to abide by the following safety precautions:

• Wear a face covering in both private and public settings when physical distance of at least 6 feet from others outside of your immediate family household is not possible or is hard to maintain.

• Face coverings continue to be required to be worn while in public places throughout Teton County Idaho.

• Stay home if you are sick, even mildly sick.

• Frequently wash hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

Keith Gnagey, CEO for Teton Valley Health summarized, “Higher positivity and active rates will translate into increased hospitalizations, further taxing the hospitals in our region, which are already operating at or near capacity. Hospitals in surrounding states are also at capacity, which means that the health system may not be able to offer the same level of care to patients in need.”

For more information, please visit the Teton County COVID-19 Information Hub at https://coronavirusresponse-tetonidaho.hub.arcgis.com/.