Update: September 21, 2021
On September 16, 2021, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (“DHW”) announced a statewide declaration of crisis standards of care (“CSC”) because the “massive” increase in the number of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization has exhausted the supply of health care resources necessary to provide the usual standard of care to people who need it. The declaration authorizes hospitals and other health care providers to follow CSC guidelines to prioritize and ration available health care services, facilities, and equipment. The DHW press release explains that people who need medical care while the crisis standards are in effect may not get the care they expect, including the possibility of not being prioritized, because the goal of the CSC is to save as many lives as possible. “[S]omeone who is otherwise healthy and would recover more rapidly may get treated or have access to a ventilator before someone who is not likely to recover.”
The state’s webpage of COVID-19 resources includes guidance on patient care strategies for medical providers as well as FAQs and other information. According to data gathered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Idaho has one of the lowest rates of vaccination for those eligible (ages 12 and older) in the United States.
On September 1, 2021, Governor Eric J. Holcomb issued Executive Order 21-24 (“the Order”), continuing limited provisions to address the impact and spread of COVID-19. The Order shares data gathered by the Indiana Department of Health (“IDOH”), showing that by mid-August, despite vaccination programs and efforts, “only 52.9% of eligible Hoosiers” were “fully vaccinated” and that unvaccinated individuals comprised 98 percent of new COVID-19-related hospital admissions, 97 percent of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units and 94 percent of COVID-19 fatalities. The Order extends prior executive orders through September 30, 2021; calls on all individuals residing in or otherwise within Indiana to take appropriate preventative measures; and strongly encourages all who are vaccine-eligible to get vaccinated. The Order also requires anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to isolate according to IDOH guidelines and those who have had close contact with a COVID-19-infected individual to quarantine (if unvaccinated) or, if vaccinated, to wear a mask in public “at all times” until testing “negative 3-5 days after exposure or until 14 days have passed.” The Order permits local Indiana authorities to issue local declarations of emergency and to impose greater restrictions, if needed.
Governor Steve Sisolak issued a further Declaration of Emergency with Directive 050, signed on September 2, 2021, extending most emergency orders provided in prior directives related to the ongoing public health emergency, including the previous Directive 049, which relaxed mask rules for vaccinated individuals attending large-scale events. The newer directive specifically includes events like large conventions and trade shows, even if held in areas with substantial or high levels of community transmission. Under these directives, fully vaccinated staff and attendees at qualifying conventions, trade shows, or other large indoor events may forego wearing masks, even in locations otherwise subject to face covering requirements, if the event:
- is held at a venue with a fixed seating capacity of at least 4,000;
- will have at least 4,000 individuals in attendance;
- requires tickets and pre-registration, and is only open to those who have duly registered or acquired tickets;
- has access controls that prevent unticketed or unregistered individuals from entering; and
- requires all attendees to provide proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, unless they are ineligible due to age (all unvaccinated children over the age of two must wear face coverings at the event, even if they would otherwise be exempting from a masking requirement due to their age).
Directive 050 requires event operators to use a reliable, accurate, and effective method of verifying vaccination status and to have adequately trained staff in sufficient numbers to implement the system effectively. The exemption from face covering requirements applies only to those who are fully vaccinated. However, if the event allows any unvaccinated individuals who claim exemption from vaccines or masking for any reason other than age, all event attendees must wear face coverings.
Event organizers wishing to allow fully vaccinated staff and attendees to go maskless at their events must submit required paperwork to the state Department of Business and Industry as well as to local health authorities, including a certification that they will comply with all requirements outlined in the governor’s directives and state guidance.
In the first days of September, Governor Daniel J. McKee issued a series of executive orders related to COVID-19. Executive Order 21-95, issued on September 3, 2021, extends the state’s Declaration of Disaster Emergency through October 2, 2021, unless renewed, modified, or terminated. Executive Order 21-94 (“EO 21-94”) sets forth an Amended Quarantine and Isolation Order for those diagnosed with COVID-19 and those known to have been in close contact with anyone infected with COVID-19. Pursuant to EO 21-94, patients with confirmed COVID-19 must self-isolate in accordance with Rhode Island Department of Health guidance.
Fully vaccinated individuals known to have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 must be tested three to five days after exposure and must wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. Those who are not fully vaccinated must be tested immediately, and even if asymptomatic, must quarantine for 10 days unless the test was taken five or more days after exposure, in which case quarantine may be limited to seven days after a negative result. Even if the first test result is negative, however, individuals who are not fully vaccinated must test a second time, either five to seven days after exposure or immediately, if COVID-19 symptoms develop.
Specific exemptions to these rules are set forth in EO 21-94, allowing shorter isolation periods for:
- those who have been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 within 90 days prior to the close contact, and
- for cases involving exposure of a pre-K–12 student by another pre-K–12 student, if both students were masked and separated by at least three feet during their close contact.
Unvaccinated persons living in a congregate care setting who are close contacts of an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days.
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