PAYETTE COUNTY — Even with multiple variants of COVID-19 going around worldwide, polls are showing that people are tired of hearing about them. One Jan. 21 poll conducted by PRpioneer.com found that “flattening the curve,“ “outbreak,” “second wave,” “unprecedented” and “bubble” were among the top 20 most hated pandemic-related phrases in the United States.

With prevention options offering hope to the public, the newspaper reached out to Southwest District Health officials to learn about their continued response to this survey. 

Katrina Williams, management assistant for Southwest District Health, weighed in on agency officials’ view of the situation through a Feb. 9 email.

“Southwest District Health has, throughout the pandemic, promoted preventive messaging and information to help our region slow the spread,” wrote Williams. “We have not tracked specific numbers of comments opposed to the terms ‘slow the spread’ or ‘flatten the curve.’ We have residents across our six-county region with varied opinions regarding the pandemic and all associated mitigation strategies.”

Even as vaccines become increasingly available to combat the pandemic, Williams acknowledged sentiment that more are needed.

“We are encouraging residents to remain patient as demand for vaccination appointments far exceeds vaccine supply. The priority group of ages 65 and older is a very large population, about 45,000 individuals,” she added. “we ask that people within this priority group allow the most vulnerable of this large population group to receive the vaccine first. Some of the vaccine providers may use a screening process to focus on those most vulnerable and determine if a person has serious health conditions that put them at higher risk for severe impacts from COVID-19.”

Williams said the agency estimates vaccinating all senior citizens in Public Health District 3 could take up to 10 weeks to accomplish. She also expressed appreciation for the patience shown by members of the public thus far.

“Our agency appreciates the efforts of residents of our six-county region to follow current recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19. All six counties in the district continue to experience community spread, which puts people living in and visiting these communities at higher risk for exposure. It is the goal of Southwest District Health to work our way back to a place where we have no community spread.”

Individuals with questions or concerns can reach the agency’s COVID-19 Hotline Monday thru Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., except observed holidays, at (208) 455-5411 or visit phd3.idaho.gov/covid19/.

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