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(SE Idaho) – Eastern Idaho Public Health (EIPH) and Steele Memorial Medical Center (SMMC) have confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 in a female in her 40s in Lemhi County. She was diagnosed through the Emergency Department at SMMC as an outpatient. She was never hospitalized and is currently self-isolating while recovering at home. The source of exposure for this positive case was community transmission. Community transmission means the spread of illness for which the source of the infection is unknown and cannot be connected to travel or close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Epidemiologists with EIPH have begun an investigation and will communicate with this individual daily until she is determined to no longer be infectious at which time she will be released from EIPH’s monitoring. If during the investigation other people are found to have been exposed, health officials will contact them, provide them guidance, and monitor them closely for symptoms. Additional case-specific information about this individual is confidential and will not be released.

“EIPH has been working closely with SMMC throughout this pandemic and we appreciate the efforts they have taken to be prepared for the time when COVID-19 would be found in Lemhi County. We also appreciate the efforts of the community in doing their part to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

With this case being caused by community transmission, it is vital now, more than ever, to continue with actions that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19”, said Geri Rackow, EIPH Director. These actions include:

— Reading the newly released document, Idaho Rebounds, Our Path to Prosperity: Guidelines for Opening up Idaho. This document can be found here: https://rebound.idaho.gov/.

— Following the Stay at Home order which was announced by Governor Brad Little on Wednesday, March 25 and extended on April 15 to the end of day on April 30. A copy of the amended order can be found here: www.EIPH.Idaho.gov.

— Practicing self-distancing (maintaining at least 6 feet between individuals) and avoiding nonessential travel, as detailed in the order.

— Staying home if sick. A symptom monitoring checklist and Decision Tree was developed to help people and/or employers determine what they should do if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been primarily or secondarily exposed to a person with COVID-19 symptoms. A copy of these documents can be found here: www.EIPH.Idaho.gov.

— Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, 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, using hand sanitizer, and limiting close contact with people who are sick.

For questions, guidance, and information about COVID-19, please visit EIPH’s website at www.EIPH.Idaho.gov. You can also follow us on Facebook at @EIPH.Idaho.

We also have a hotline number that can be reached by calling 208-522-0310 or 855-533-3160 (toll free). The hotline is active Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We can be reached on weekends via email from our website at www.EIPH.Idaho.gov. The State of Idaho also has a hotline number which is able to answer questions relating to the Stay at Home Order and Guidelines for Opening up Idaho. That phone number is 888-330-3010.

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