September 24, 2020
As the school year begins in Power County, the increase of active COVID-19 cases has been concerning. Over the weekend, 25 active cases were reported, bringing the total of officially infected residents to 101 individuals over the last 6 months. For reference, the number of active cases (as of Sunday) equates to 0.32% of the county population, and total cases add up to 1.3%. There have been a few hospitalizations and zero deaths. I am concerned but not alarmed—panic never helps. But I do not wish to see these numbers increase exponentially. Therefore, here is a reminder to PLEASE:
- STAY HOME and isolate if you have been tested for coronavirus and are waiting for results
- STAY HOME if you feel unwell, whether you think it may be coronavirus or not
- Regularly wash and sanitize your hands and hard surfaces
- Practice social–distancing by staying 6+ feet apart from others not in your household
- Wear a MASK if it may not be possible maintain 6 feet distance, OR if you are in public areas like stores, public buildings, events, or large groups
*** For residents that are very worried about COVID exposure and high-risk, please call City Hall and we will assist in running errands and providing assistance: (208)226-2569***
The discussion on masks and COVID has been frustrating. It has been muddled by conflicting information and political discord. It is incredibly serious except it is not? Masks are required some places but not others? Some masks work and some don’t? It is too hard for some to breathe in masks, except when it’s not? What is true? Just DO YOUR BEST to follow the requests above. Kindly encourage others, but do NOT shame or accuse or judge others that are (or are not) wearing masks.
This pandemic is erratic, and it is continuing on and on. Our leaders and doctors are trying their hardest to do what is best during the unknown, and my grateful heart goes out to them while research and situations continually evolve. Quarantine and stay-home orders were first put in place to flatten the curve and keep us safe. Unfortunately, it has also resulted in an escalation of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and mental illness. School is a place where struggling kids have the opportunity to connect with mentors and peers and get help. Being in school helps children be seen and have the support they might not receive at home. School gives our kids direction, growth, and a sense of normalcy. As summer ends, it is our duty to follow the points above to keep the numbers low so our schools can stay open.
As mayor of American Falls, I have the opportunity to be an example and do my very best for all of you, and I am happy to do so. I have the responsibility to mask up whether I like it or not and be conscientious for the children that desperately need to be seen and heard. Three of my four kids are attending elementary school this year, and masks are required circumstantially. If my wiggly five-year-old can wear a mask, then so can you. Let’s look at social-distancing and masks as a social etiquette in respecting others and keeping people safe. If you do not believe masks actually work, politely wear one so others can at least feel safe. This will not last forever, and the more people that mask-up, the less weird it will feel for everyone. I am so proud of this city and want to thank everyone for their efforts to lift each other during 2020. If we can go about business as normal simply with some fabric on our face, it will be worth it for the children in American Falls and Power County.
Rebekah K. Sorensen
MAYOR, City of American Falls
NEW CITY HALL PROTOCOLS:
City Hall will be open for modified business, Monday, May 4th. Please follow these protocols:
- We are requiring that you wear a mask if you need to speak personally to someone in City Hall.
- The procedures for seeing someone in person are as follows: a number will be posted on the front doors of City Hall, call that number when you drive up, if no one else is in City Hall you will be let into the building, if someone is ahead of you, you will be let in when that person leaves the building.
- If multiple people are waiting you will be admitted in the order that your call was received. As has been the case for the last month if you need to speak with a particular person at a set time please schedule an appointment.
- This protocol will likely not change this month.
- Please continue to drop payments in the drop box; that has been most helpful, thank you for your cooperation in helping us serve you.
FROM APRIL 30TH:
ALL CITY PERSONNEL:
- If any City employee or volunteer is working with a co-worker in a proximity closer than SIX feet they are to wear some type of protective mask.
- If any City employee or volunteer will be working in proximity (6 to 30 feet) of the general public they are to wear a protective mask.
- Maintain Social Distancing – 6 to 10 feet of separation between each other – Ride in separate vehicles whenever possible.
- Maintain Respiratory Hygiene
- Wash your hands frequently
- Disinfect hard surfaces regularly
- Stay home if you are sick – contact your healthcare provider
STAGE I REBOUND IDAHO
Places of Worship: Places of worship opening their doors on May 1 should have an operational plan in place to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. The plans do not need to be submitted for review or approval. However, to ensure confidence of the worshippers, places of worship are encouraged to make their plans available to their congregation.
- Identify how the place of worship will maintain the six (6) foot physical distancing requirements for staff, volunteers and worshippers for services and activities.
- Identify how the place of worship will provide adequate sanitation and personal hygiene for staff, volunteers and worshippers.
- Consider whether to modify specific religious rites, rituals and services, consulting with local public health officials as needed.
Daycares and Childcare: While physical distancing among young children and staff who care for them is challenging, there are some actions that can limit the number of contacts between children and staff. Child care facilities that closed during the Stay-Home Order that began on March 25, 2020 and are planning to reopen should develop operational plans to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for employees and children in their care. Child care facilities currently open should review their operational plans. Child care should use the following guidance as they reopen or continue to operate. Plans do not need to be submitted for review or approval. However, plans must be in compliance with existing licensing requirements and available upon request. Daycare providers should provide information about their plans to families they serve.
- Review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Guidance for Schools and Child Care Programs” including information on: Physical distancing; Hand hygiene; Food preparation and meals; Washing, feeding and holding a child; Diapering; Cleaning and disinfecting.
- Develop plans that address staff and child safety and limit spread of COVID-19.
Youth Activities: Youth activities considering resuming on May 1 should have an operational plan in place to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. Youth activities may include youth day camps that also provide childcare for working parents; and youth sports, music, religious, scouting, and other organized youth activities. Guidance for operating childcare facilities should also be reviewed by day camp operators for additional information.
Youth activities do not include large events like tournaments, competitions or performance, especially those that involve overnight camps or overnight trips. Participation in the program and travel should be limited to within youths’ own community and in keeping with CDC and Idaho’s guidance on limiting non-essential travel. Out-of-state travel for organized youth activities is not allowed.
Operational plans do not need to be submitted for review or approval. However, youth organizations are encouraged to make plans available to staff, parents and youth they serve. Requirements for safe participation in the activities should also be posted on the organization’s website and at the facility. Plans should include the following elements based on guidance from the State of Idaho and as recommended by CDC.
- Establish protocols to maintain the six (6) foot physical distance among participants, where possible, and between youth, adult leaders and coaches, and parents or other spectators.
- Establish protocols to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 among adult leaders, youth, and their families.
- Establish plans to provide adequate hand hygiene and sanitation.
- Identify strategies for working with public health to notify adult leaders, youth and their families if the organization learns a participant or adult leader has developed COVID-19 and may have been infectious to others while at a youth activity.
Individuals: All vulnerable Idahoans should continue to self-quarantine. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not always possible, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.
- Gatherings, both public and private, should be avoided.
- Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.
- Continue the 14-day self-quarantine for people entering Idaho to prevent influx of out-of-state visitors.
“Essential” Employers: Continue to encourage telework, whenever possible and feasible with business operations.
- Return employees to work in phases, if physical distancing, personal protections and sanitation are feasible.
- Employees who are considered vulnerable individuals should continue to self-quarantine. Special accommodations for these employees should be made in the workplace if they are unable to work from home.
- Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.
- Bars and nightclubs remain closed.
- Restaurants dining rooms remain closed, develop plans for reopening and ability to meet business protocols in order to open in stage 2.
- Indoor gyms and recreation facilities remain closed, develop plans for reopening and ability to meet business protocols in order to open in stage 2.
- Hair salons remain closed, develop plans for reopening and ability to meet business protocols in order to open in stage 2.
- Large venues (e.g. movie theaters and sporting venues) are closed
To View Past Articles Click Here