PRESTON – Besides Cache County, Franklin County is also experiencing a high number of COVID cases and is in the high-risk category in the state’s ranking system. Franklin County is one of three counties in Southeast Idaho at the High-Risk level said Tracy McColloch, the community health director at Southeast Idaho Public Health (SIPH).
“You’re at the High-Risk level when we have a high number of active cases in the community,” she said. “Franklin County has increased to 76 active cases that put them in that category.”
The health department suggests limiting gathering sizes and protect the vulnerable by wearing masks and limit hospital visits, among other safety precautions.
“Butte and Power counties are also in the high-risk category according to siphidaho.org. That’s our recommendation,” she said. “It is up to the school districts to cancel sporting events.”
Preston Mayor Dan Keller opened the city council meeting Tuesday with praise for those in the county contending with the pandemic.
“The COVID situation is still going and we want to give our heartfelt thanks to our community, including not only our citizenry, but I’m talking about our hospital, their employees, our first responders, law enforcement for what they are doing,” he said. “And we want to give thanks to schoolteachers and administrators for keeping our schools open.”
“It is stunning and humbling to me to see all of the work being done for this cause,” he added. “I want to also thank the volunteers and people going out of their way to make sure our community events and economy is moving forward.”
Keller said the city appreciates everyone’s efforts. And those efforts are important.
“I think it is really important with our uptick in cases we acknowledge everyone that is making our community proceed in a productive and safe manner,” Keller said before the meeting started.
Marc Gee, the Superintendent of Preston School District, posted a comment on their website informing the public of plans that could go into effect if the pandemic numbers continue to rise.
“At this time, as cases continue to increase, we have been moved as a county to high risk level by the health department,” the post said. “According to our original plan, if that were to happen, we would consider moving to an alternative schedule where students would come to school every other day. This would allow for increased spacing both in classrooms.”
So far, the district has not adopted the hybrid schedule.
Southeastern Idaho Public Health has 168 new confirmed cases of the pandemic in Southeast Idaho. Franklin County added another 19 cases to their total with COVID 19.
The Southeast Idaho Health Department wants people to help prevent the spread of this virus by using the following prevention methods:
- Follow Governor Little’s Statewide Stay-Healthy Idaho Order at rebound.idaho.gov.
- Wear cloth face coverings in public places.
- Practice social distancing (6ft).
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Avoid people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs using a disinfecting solution.
If you believe you have been exposed, make sure to self-isolate. If you need medical attention, please call your healthcare provider in advance of a visit to discuss your symptoms and next steps. Testing is available by calling 208-234-5875.