The Valley-North Adams COVID task force has been convening since March, with the intent of being a communication and mitigation vehicle in the changing world of Coronavirus. The group has shared information out via social media, press releases, through partners and other channels on a regular basis. This posting of weekly meeting notes is to ensure the public has an opportunity to learn about the work being done by the task force, and to participate and share feedback with leaders across the region. Feel free to submit feedback to admin@wcmedc.org and we’ll make sure it gets to the right people:
COVID Task Force Notes from 07/09/2020
Governor’s press brief (noon):¬†Idaho did not meet the criteria to transition out of phase 4. There has been a significant rise in positive cases statewide, but especially in the Treasure Valley. The Governor is committed to opening Idaho schools this fall likely with a mixture of online and in person learning delivery models. The specifics / decision on this front will be made at the local district level. The state will offer support and guidance to the districts.
Healthcare subcommittee: Cascade Medical Center has been testing since March 6th. There have been 5 positives in the last 2 weeks, zero prior. Cascade has been testing symptomatic people using Abbot machine, which allows for quick results. There has been growing community spread. There is insufficient mask wearing, generally, according to the experts in many towns in the region, however some areas are doing better than others. Fireworks in Cascade went well, nothing major to report. St. Lukes McCall will be sharing additional information about their testing data over the coming days. Area hospitals are only testing symptomatic people and folks who are being admitted to the hospital or have been potentially exposed. The SLHS statewide system is seeing an increase in hospitalizations: 66 COVID positive cases with 16 in ICU. CDHD: continuing to monitor the situation. There is a discussion about crafting recommendations for Ada and Valley County mandatory mask regulations. 4th of July data should be available in the next few days. Crush the Curve was not able to do local testing this week locally due to high demand in the Boise area. Task force is looking at securing a remote testing option where we mail in kits and can administer tests without having to wait. McKenzie and Tom are working out these details and working through logistics. Health and Welfare has allocated $50mm for testing–the specific breakdown of these funds is forthcoming.
Business & Government (combined) subcommittees:¬†State Board of Ed is working on a reopening plan. Locally the district has teams working on busing and transportation, facilities and operations, staff and student safety, instruction and assessment to make sure they are ready for the fall. School district timeline: draft proposal based on state guidelines will be reviewed August 3rd, approved August 10. There is a tough balance being weighed about kid’s needs, family stress, learning needs and damages from COVID in the long term (social/emotional/family). Looking through lots of solutions and innovations. McCall public health order requiring masks is in place and the City is working through some enforcement considerations. Generally the feedback has been positive, with a handful of negative comments coming from folks from out of the area. There are varying levels of exposure and various groups are working to educate community stakeholders about the nuances of risk situations (seniors, businesses, at-risk groups, etc.). Will be looking for additional guidance from CDHD and the St. Lukes Adaptive Recovery team to efficiently¬†disseminate information in a timely manner. Would be optimal for seniors and vulnerable populations to be able to have home visits, as there is anxiety about going to the clinic. Hospitals are separating their facilities to ensure non-sick people are safe and separate, but this messaging needs to be elevated so folks are aware. A central communication resource for various groups might be helpful as well–adaptive recovery team coalition will be engaged.
Marketing: There is an effort to get an electric reader board up in McCall about the mask requirements. The group will deploy meeting notes for the community to learn about weekly updates.
Other: There is some concern about the inconsistencies of masking policies and there is fear and anxiety among many industries, especially food and beverage. The group shared some concerns about the fact that Idaho is remaining in phase 4, despite a significant rise in infection. Recommended speaking with county commissioners to advocate for additional considerations. Folks need to get used to the COVID realities, even if they are difficult. USFS offices are still closed to the public and likely will be for some time.