As Teton County is experiencing a large spike in COVID-19 cases and St. John's Health staff is again becoming overwhelmed, Teton County Health Officer Travis Riddell has reissued the public health recommendation that people not gather outside of their households.
The recommendation will span the two-week period between Wednesday and Jan. 27, according to an email sent by Riddell to Teton County Board of County Commissioners Chair Natalia Macker and Jackson Mayor Hailey Morton Levinson.
On Friday, the county reported a then-record 86 new cases, only to be topped by the 96 reported on Monday.
In his email, Riddell wrote, in part: "As you are likely aware, in the past several days we have seen an unprecedentedly rapid spike in COVID-19 cases in Teton County which have resulted in active caseloads exceeding our previous peak in November. St. John’s Health is also once again experiencing a high COVID census and a critical staff shortage.
"After discussion with Health Department and hospital staff, I have decided to re-issue Public Health Recommendation #11, requesting that people not gather outside of their households for the two week period between January 13 and January 27."
He added that he is considering reissuing Public Health Recommendation #9, "which requests the early closure of bars and restaurants."
Attendance at work and school is still OK under the recommendation, with proper social distancing, mask usage and hygiene practices such as frequent hand-washing, according to a Teton County Health Department release. However, other social, recreational or extracurricular interactions with people outside of one's own household should be avoided.
Teton County Board of County Commissioners Chairwoman Natalia D. Macker said, “Please join us in supporting and following this necessary recommendation. The vaccine is here, it is being distributed, and we must slow the spread. We know what to do, so let’s do it for our families and friends, for our schools and businesses, and for all the people who have been working tirelessly for many months without a break.
"Please heed this request from our health professionals. We are all fatigued, but we cannot let our guard down now.”