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Eastern Idaho Public Health releases regional COVID-19 plan

Estern Idaho Public Health EIPH LOGO circle

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-Eastern Idaho Public Health is looking for public comment on the regional response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The EIPH Board is discussing a draft plan, based on color-coded risk levels defined by data metrics and mitigation strategies.  The board has not taken action on the proposal but will reconsider its position in another meeting next Tuesday.

EIPH said the main goal is to ensure health care capacity is maintained for all patients needing care, not just COVID-19 patients.

“While doing what is needed to protect the public’s health and our regional hospital capacity, we also want to do everything we can to minimize the impact to our economy as much as possible by keeping businesses open and getting our kids back to school this fall,” stated Bryon Reed, EIPH Board Chairman.  “However, we need everyone’s support and participation to help us achieve this.  Preventative measures of maintaining physical distance from others outside of your immediate family, wearing face coverings while in public when physical distancing is not possible, staying home when you’re sick, and practicing frequent handwashing will go a long way to help us collectively achieve these goals.”

The board is accepting public comment prior to making its final decision next week.

EIPH serves an eight county area including Bonneville, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison and Teton Counties.

You can view the proposed plan here.

The plan outlines four risk scenarios, and the actions EIPH is prepared to take in each situation. The threat level will be determined by monitoring metrics, including active cases per 10-thousand residents, hospital capacity percentages.

According to the draft, COVID-19 outbreaks in key locations could also advance the region into higher risk scenarios. Such key locations include: hospitals, Critical Infrastructure Services (Fire, Law Enforcement,
Utilities, etc.), schools, congregate living facilities, and mass gatherings or events.

Among other mitigation efforts, a regional mask mandate would only be considered under the two most severe scenarios. According to state law, any regional order levied by a health district must carry misdemeanor charges.

The 4th risk level would occur if hospitals are consistently above capacity, or if Crisis Standards of Care have to be implemented. Under these circumstances, the district would issue a stay at home order.

EIPH is accepting comments on the plan, they can be submitted:

1. Electronically through a link on the website

2. By e-mailing them to COVIDquestions@eiph.idaho.gov (please include “Plan Comments” in the subject line)

3. By fax at (208) 525-7063

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