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Public Health, IDHW update guidance for mass gatherings, public events

LEWISTON - Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and the seven local Public Health Districts have developed guidance for event and venue managers to assist with decisions regarding mass gatherings and public events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Idaho public health experts, the Department of Health and Welfare and all local Public Health Districts, will support any decision made by a venue or event manager to postpone or cancel mass gatherings and public events.

For the purpose of this guidance, mass gatherings and events are defined as a public gathering for business, social, academic or recreational activities including, but not limited to, community, civic, public, educational, leisure, or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; conventions; fundraisers; and similar activities.

Idaho public health experts recommend that organizers (whether groups or individuals) postpone or cancel mass gatherings and public events in any of the following situations:

  • The event will draw audiences or participants from communities, states, or countries with confirmed community spread of COVID-19 disease. The local public health district can assist you in making this determination.
  • The event will consist of 50 people or more people. This is recommended for the next eight (8) weeks.
  • The event's primary audience includes or may expose high-risk populations, including adults over the age of 60 years and people with underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes, regardless of the number of attendees.

To slow the spread of COVID-19, The President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America should be implemented for the next 15 days through March 31 and then return to the above referenced guidance pending any further federal change:

  • Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.
  • Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
  • Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts; use drive-thru, pickup or delivery/options.
  • Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.
  • Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

Idaho public health experts recommend event and venue managers consider using virtual gatherings (e.g., webinar, video conferencing, live stream, etc.) as a mechanism to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure to the general public and vulnerable populations, when possible. Idaho public health experts recommend that facilities housing large numbers of people (such as long-term care facilities, jails and corrections, shelters, etc.) implement policies now to minimize risk to their populations by limiting visitors, providing proper handwashing and hygiene facilities for staff, visitors and residents and enhancing screening for staff and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19.

Symptoms of COVID-19 generally include flu-like symptoms, a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and/or respiratory infection symptoms including cough and shortness of breath.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. According to public health experts, people all must takes steps now to protect themselves and others, including washing hands often, practicing social distancing--keeping six feet between individuals, staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing a face mask only if sick, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces with bleach wipes or a sanitizing spray.

Please visit www.cdc.gov for additional information on mass gatherings.

Window on the Clearwater
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Orofino, ID 83544
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