The South Central Public Health District raised Blaine County’s COVID-19 risk level from “minimal” to “moderate” on Thursday, as the county’s test-positivity rate climbed into the “high” category.

In its monthly risk assessment of the eight counties it serves, the Health District reported that Blaine County’s rate for positive COVID-19 tests was 15.7%, more than three times the “minimal” goal of 5% or lower. The 14-day rolling average of new cases per 10,000 residents was 2.44, in the “moderate” category.

“Testing in this county has declined and at-home tests are not recorded,” the district noted. “It is possible the case rate is higher than data shows.”

Though cases have increased, “the overall impact to local healthcare is minimal,” the district stated.

For the assessment, the district used data from May 29 to June 11. During that period, new cases were recorded in all age groups.

The district reported that Blaine County had 46 new COVID-19 cases in the week of June 9-15.

In Idaho, the seven-day moving average incidence rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population rose to 16.2 on Wednesday, after it dropped to about 3 in early April. During the omicron-variant surge last winter, the number soared to about 243.

Through Wednesday, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare had recorded 457,026 COVID-19 cases statewide and 4,954 COVID-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The state recorded 894 new cases between Monday and Wednesday.

Through Wednesday, the Department of Health and Welfare had recorded 6,244 COVID-19 cases in Blaine County since the pandemic started, contributing to 30 deaths.

Nationally, numbers have also been slowly rising since early spring. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s daily seven-day moving average of case numbers was about 103,000 on Wednesday. It had dropped to about 25,000 in March, after the new-case count surged to more than a million in one day in early January.

Blaine County remains the most vaccinated county in Idaho, with 84% of the population ages 5-plus deemed fully vaccinated. The next highest percentage is in Ada County—which includes Boise—at 65%. 

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