IDAHO FALLS — This week Idaho saw its biggest single jump in new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began earlier this year.
Over the last seven days, the total number of confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases in Idaho has risen sharply from 4,645 to 6,370, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Not all of those people are sick though. Officials say that about 69% (4,393) of infected individuals have now lived at least 30 days since initial infection and are presumed recovered.
A case is considered probable if a person has not been tested, or a test is pending, and the person has all the symptoms of COVID-19, has come into direct contact with an infected person and developed symptoms within the expected timeframe.
Despite the major increase in cases, the death rate has remained very low. So far only 92 people have died statewide. That’s two more in the past seven days. The vast majority of the deaths have been among people over age 60, which is the demographic most vulnerable to the virus. The deaths have also mostly been in western and central Idaho. Only two people in eastern Idaho have died from COVID-19.
In eastern Idaho, the number of cases also rose sharply.
Over the last seven days, the total number of confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases in eastern Idaho jumped from 336 to 419, according to Eastern Idaho Public Health and the Southeast Idaho Public Health District. However, like the state number, the majority of initially infected people are no longer sick. At this point, only 111 people are still symptomatic and are being actively monitored by either health district.
COVID-19 has an extremely high recovery rate, and the vast majority of people who catch the virus will recover at home with no problems. So far, only 340 COVID-19 patients have had to be hospitalized in the entire state. Some of those cases were very severe and involved hospital stays in excess of 50 days, according to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and Idaho Falls Community Hospital officials.
At the moment, Idaho remains in Stage 4 of Rebound Idaho due to the recent surge in cases. While there is a possibility that some counties may roll back to Stage 3, local officials say they don’t expect that to happen.
To avoid a roll back, EIPH recommends people follow COVID-19 risk-reduction strategies:
- Staying home if sick.
- Practicing self-distancing (maintaining at least 6 feet between individuals).
- Wearing a fabric face covering or mask when in public settings where other social
distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or our sleeve.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer.
- Limiting close contact with people who are sick.
Since restrictions on gatherings have loosened, EIPH says most new COVID-19 cases are linked to gatherings where people attended while ill and social distancing was not followed.
“We understand that social connections are vitally important to people, but we also want people to take precautions when interacting with others to minimize the opportunities for COVID-19 to be spread,” EIPH Director Geri Rackow said in a news release.
Health officials say to contact them if someones been exposed to COVID-19 or exposure has occurred at your business, organization, event, etc. EIPH can be reached at its COVID-19 hotline at (208) 522-0310. SIPH’s hotline is reached at (208) 234-5875.
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