(Updated March 20, 2020)
An important message about COVID-19 to Idaho Falls residents from Mayor Rebecca Casper
With the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Idaho, the City of Idaho Falls is taking extra precautions to protect the health and safety of our community.
We have been closely monitoring the national and local response efforts for several weeks. We have added various trigger points that will dictate decision-making and the steps needed as we respond to COVID-19, both from an internal perspective as well as from a community perspective.
Unified command has been activated to include Eastern Idaho Public Health, Bonneville County, City of Idaho Falls and City of Ammon.
We realize everyone has their own idea of how to respond to a public health threat such as COVID-19, and we don’t want residents to panic or live in fear. However, we know that early containment, through social distancing, vigilant hygiene and isolating those infected by the virus, is the best way we can protect ourselves and protect our most vulnerable populations. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, protocols will be adjusted accordingly, and new protocols added, as our community continues to feel the impact of COVID-19. Stay healthy, Idaho Falls!
Guidelines for Self Protection and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
All residents are encouraged to follow the State of Idaho, Eastern Idaho Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the latest information on COVID-19. (See links to the left.)
Take everyday actions to protect yourself and those you love
There are effective ways to reduce the risk to yourself and the people you care about.
- Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you’re sick, and keep your children home if they are sick.
- Clean surfaces in your home, and personal items such as cell phones, using regular household products.
- Be calm and prepared.
- Ready.gov: Guidance for COVID-19 preparedness
- CDC: Getting your household ready for COVID-19
- People who are not sick do not need face masks to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. Ill people should wear a mask to protect family members or in any scenario where needed to prevent the spread of germs.
Certain people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, including:
- Older people (over age 60), especially those over 80.
- People who have chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease, or diabetes.
- Older people with chronic medical conditions are at the highest risk.
- People at higher risk should take action now to be prepared for this virus if there is an outbreak in their community. CDC has the information you need to prepare.
- Everyone’s daily preventive actions are important in reducing spread to people who may experience more severe illness.
Testing Information from Eastern Idaho Public Health
If you have no symptoms, you will not be tested… and there is no need for you to be tested.
If you have fever with a cough or fever with shortness of breath, first call your healthcare provider.
A) Advise them of your symptoms, any recent travel history, and any contact with a person CONFIRMED to have COVID-19.
B) They will advise you what to do.
C) DO NOT show up unannounced; call ahead first.
D) If you don’t have a healthcare provider, there are many options available.
If your provider advises you to come in for a check-up, they will determine the need to run a COVID-19 test. Your healthcare provider can choose to run a COVID-19 test if:
A) You have been evaluated for other respiratory illnesses.
B) You have symptoms with a history of recent travel.
C) You have symptoms and contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19.
Visit the Emergency Room (ER) or call 911 only if respiratory illness is significant enough for you to need emergency care. (Think of it this way: Would you have sought ER care 5 months ago for the symptoms you are currently experiencing? If so, visit the ER.)
Another important consideration: Just like a positive flu test isn’t necessarily needed for a healthcare provider to treat flu-like symptoms (or for a person to stay home and care for themselves with medication, rest, fluid intake, avoiding others, etc.), the same is true of COVID-19. Your healthcare provider is your #1 resource for accurate, timely information. Please do not “work around” their advice. We are seeing people in our ERs wanting to be tested after a healthcare provider has already told them testing wasn’t indicated, based on their unique situation. Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated!
You are welcome to call Eastern Idaho Public Health’s COVID-19 Hotline at (208) 533-3152 with any questions you may have. You may also call your healthcare provider.
INFORMATION & RESOURCES
- Eastern Idaho Public Health
- State of Idaho - Novel Coronavirus
- Center for Disease Control
- Interim Guidance for Mass Gatherings & Public Events in Idaho
- Mass Gatherings and Large Community Events (CDC Guidelines)
- Mitigation Strategies for Communities
- Guidance for Self Monitoring for COVID19
- Individual Self Monitoring Log
- Interim Guidance for Isolation