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LEWISTON – Public Health – Idaho North Central District (PH-INCD) is reporting widespread community transmission throughout the District. Widespread community transmission means at least one person has been infected with the virus and through contact tracing we are unable to determine how or where they became infected. The individuals did not travel and had no known contact with another person with COVID-19. PH-INCD urges all residents to assume the virus could be anywhere in our communities.

“We understand that social connections are vitally important to people, but we also want people to take precautions when interacting with others to minimize the opportunities for COVID-19 to be spread,” stated Carol Moehrle, PH-INCD Director. “We anticipate we will continue to see an increase in cases of COVID-19 in our District due to the large events that took place in June and are expected in July and August.”

If you are choosing to attend gatherings in places where people are in close contact with each other (within 6 feet), engaging in activities that involves a lot of breathing, like singing, yelling or talking, and spending more than 15 minutes together, everyone needs to know that they are susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and especially if they are not taking seriously the recommendations of public health professionals. It is important to remember that although COVID-19 has a high recovery rate in healthy individuals, people over 65 years and individuals with underlying health conditions are at risk for more severe illness and complications from COVID-19, including death. Please take extra precautions if you associate with people in these two categories.

Increasing COVID-19 cases underscore the importance of practicing COVID-19 risk reduction strategies which include:

• Staying home if sick.

• Practicing self-distancing (maintaining at least 6 feet between individuals).

• Wearing a fabric face covering or mask when in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

• Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve.

• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer.

• Limiting close contact with people who are sick.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People experiencing cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell may have COVID-19. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

For more information about the novel coronavirus please visit www.idahopublichealth.com or https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/ or call our Public Health Hotline at 1-866-736-6632.

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