COVID-19 mask

Eastern Idaho Public Health reported a third case of COVID-19 in Teton County last Friday afternoon, June 19. This was the third new case for Teton County in a week with each case having been traced back to a local bar and restaurant in Victor.

Teton Valley Hospital CEO Keith Gnagey said on Friday that the third person to test positive is a male in his thirties who has not been hospitalized. All three of these cases are men in their 20s and 30s and are local people. Gnagey confirmed that each of them had been to the West Side Yard in Victor. Two of the cases were independent of each other with the third case connected to one of these two positive cases. Gnagey encouraged people with symptoms of COVID to call the TVH nurse line which is manned seven days a week, 24 hours a day at (208-354-2383).

Eastern Idaho Public Health issued a public announcement last week altering the community to the connections to the West Side Yard. The public announcement was issued on Tuesday announcing that one of the persons who tested positive for COVID-19 had patronized West Side Yard in Victor on Saturday, June 13 from 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The restaurant closed for cleaning and seven staff members are now in quarantined.

According to a report by the Post Register, of the 300 total cases in southeast Idaho since the pandemic reached the region, 200 cases have recovered, according to public COVID-19 case trackers hosted on websites for Eastern and Southeastern Idaho Public Health districts as of Saturday evening.

On June 14, the districts reported 248 total cases. On June 13, eastern Idaho confirmed its first COVID-19 related death, which comes two weeks after southeastern Idaho confirmed its first death.

The sharp rise in cases comes after Idaho moved into Stage 4 of its economic reopening on Saturday, June 13, allowing all Idaho businesses to reopen if they can meet social-distancing and hygiene standards. However, some have gone back to business as usual, allowing crowds to mix and shunning face masks or other preventive measures.

The second-highest tally of new cases among Idaho counties on Wednesday came in Twin Falls, with 11 new infections; Owyhee and Washington counties each had eight, and Minidoka had six. Canyon County had two new cases Wednesday and seven on Tuesday.

On Monday, June 22, Ada County was moved back to a Stage 3 opening.

“Due to significant increases in COVID-19 cases, Ada County is being rolled back to Stage 3,” reported Eastern Idaho Public Health on its social media media page. “This is not applicable to the counties we serve (Bonneville, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, and Teton). To avoid this happening in our region in the future, please take the necessary precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 including, staying home when sick (even with mild symptoms), covering your coughs and sneezes, frequently washing your hands, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, avoiding touching your face, wearing cloth face coverings, and maintaining 6’ of space between people.”

Symptoms of COVID-19: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, sore throat, headache, fatigue, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, congestion or runny nose, or a new loss of taste or smell. Research shows that symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If symptoms develop, please contact a healthcare provider for evaluation and potential testing.

“COVID-19 is present in our communities. In fact, all of the counties within EIPH’s region with active cases include documented community transmission. That means when someone tests positive for COVID-19, we have not been able to determine the source of their exposure to the virus, which is true for this most recent case in Teton County. Interactions with others, especially those that occur in close contact without wearing cloth face coverings, puts individuals at greater risk for being exposed and potentially becoming infected with COVID-19. This is why we cannot let our guard down, but must continue to practice preventive measures to protect ourselves and others until this pandemic is over,” said Geri Rackow, District Director for EIPH in the press release.

Staying home when you are sick is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Practicing other risk reduction strategies are also vital and include:

• Practicing physical distancing (maintaining at least 6 feet between individuals).

• Wearing a fabric face covering or mask when in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

• Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer.

• Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve.

• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Stay Informed

Details on all cases can be found on the data dashboard located on at www.EIPH.Idaho.gov. EIPH has a call center to answer questions regarding COVID-19. Call 208-522-0310 or toll free at 855-533-3160 to speak with someone. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, questions can be submitted via email to COVIDQuestions@eiph.idaho.gov or asked through the EIPH Facebook page at @EIPH.Idaho.

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