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Southeastern Idaho Public Health urges people to take precautionary measures to protect others against COVID-19. 

SOUTHEAST IDAHO — On Wednesday Gov. Brad Little put a statewide stay at home order into effect for the next 21 days. This order applies to the entire state of Idaho but exempts activity needed to maintain essential operations. The stay at home order requires that all people in each county stay at their place of residence, and that they make every effort possible to conduct only essential activities necessary to maintain health and well-being, such as getting groceries, obtaining medical supplies or medication, and/or engaging in outdoor activities like walking, hiking or running while following other social distancing practices.

“The virus is easily spread, and the risk of transmission is much greater when people are in close proximity,” said Maggie Mann, Southeastern Idaho Public Health director. “This order will help protect everyone in our community by ensuring social distancing measures are followed.”

Scientific evidence shows that we must act now at this stage of the COVID-19 emergency in order to save lives in the long-run.

"We’re at a critical moment. We need to act swiftly to lessen the impact of COVID-19 in order to keep our healthcare delivery system from becoming overwhelmed," said Mann. "Each of us has to do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. The paradox is this: to come together as a community and protect each other, we need to physically stay apart for a while.”

Residents of Southeast Idaho can all do their part to ensure that members of our communities are safe and healthy by doing the following:

— Keeping 6 feet of distance between you and others.

— Stay at home. Only go out for critical needs like groceries and medicines.

— Vulnerable populations, which are those who are age 60 and older and those with chronic health conditions should stay home.

— Do not host or attend any gatherings.

— Use drive through and delivery services for everyday errands where possible.

— Utilize social media, video chatting and phone calls to connect with friends and family.

— Know your local grocery stores designated shopping times for higher risk populations.

— Avoid shaking hands or giving hugs.

— Avoid unnecessary travel.

— Create a plan for how to safely care for a household member if they become ill.

In addition to these measures, Southeastern Idaho Public Health continues to stress the importance of practicing good personal hygiene to disrupt the spread of the virus. These measure include:

— Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

— Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

— Practice social distancing of 6 feet.

— Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

— Stay home when you are sick.

— Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.

— Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more information:

— Visit SIPH’s website at siphidaho.org.

— Call SIPH’s COVID-19 hotline Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 208-234-5875.

— Watch SIPH’s District director on Facebook Live, facebook.com/siphidaho, Monday through Friday at 11 a.m.