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Sixteen-year-old Cash Landrum-Duval gets the first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination from Registered Nurse Jeannine Smith Wednesday afternoon at St. Luke’s mobile vaccination unit outside of the YMCA in Ketchum. A sophomore at Wood River High School, Landrum-Duval is optimistic about getting the shot—and, he said, most of his classmates are, too. “It’s how we are going to beat this virus,” he said.

Blaine County’s COVID-19 risk level stayed moderate on Thursday, the same status as the four previous weeks.

In the county’s risk-assessment model, using data from May 23-29, the rate of COVID-19 tests registering as positive was just over 2%. A rate between 1% and 5% is deemed a moderate risk in the county’s rubric. In the same week, the county’s number of new daily cases per hypothetical 100,000 residents was 3.7, based on a seven-day average. A rate between 1 and 10 per 100,000 is considered a moderate risk.

The impact of COVID-19 on hospital capacity—both local and regional—was deemed minimal, as was the risk posed by other epidemiological factors, though variants of the novel coronavirus have been detected in Blaine County. There have been no new outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities in the county.

The county’s model has four risk categories: minimal, moderate, high and critical.

Blaine recorded six new COVID-19 cases during the week. The 14-17 age group and the 30-39 age group added two new cases each. Both the 40-49 and 70-plus age groups added one case each.

The county’s online informational dashboard states that nearly half its residents are unvaccinated, so mask wearing and vaccination remain important. The dashboard is updated weekly on Thursdays.


State’s rate of new cases continues to drop

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare recorded 173 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide on Wednesday. Since the pandemic began in winter 2020, the state has recorded 192,478 cases and 2,097 COVID-related deaths.

The state’s seven-day moving average of new daily cases per 100,000 residents was 5.7 on Wednesday, maintaining a steady decline after peaking at 90.4 on Dec. 9.

As of Thursday, Blaine County had had 2,140 confirmed and 248 probable cases of COVID-19, with 18 deaths attributed to the virus, the Department of Health and Welfare reported. The South Central Public Health District continues to monitor four confirmed and seven probable cases monitored in Blaine County.

Eighteen cases of variants of SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19 disease—have been recorded in Blaine County, the district reported. The district—using different, less stringent standards than Blaine County does in its model—has rated the COVID-19 risk level in all eight counties in the district as minimal.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has rated Blaine County’s transmission risk level as low, its lowest category.

Nationally, 33,113,930 COVID-19 cases have been recorded, the CDC reported. Case numbers have been in a steady decline nationwide since mid-April, with 9,358 new cases recorded on Tuesday, according to the CDC. Daily case numbers for the country this year peaked in early January, with 226,748 cases recorded on Jan. 9.

In Idaho, 1,233,437 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered by June 2, with 597,526 people deemed fully vaccinated, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported. To be fully vaccinated, people must receive either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one inoculation of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The department reported that 678,909 people in Idaho have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine inoculation.

In Blaine County, 81% of people ages 12 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, with 71% of that population—13,780 people—fully vaccinated, the Department of Health and Welfare reported Thursday. That remains the highest rate in the state. By comparison, in neighboring Camas County, 33% of the 12-plus population is fully vaccinated, the department reported.

In Idaho, anyone 12 or older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine for free. People ages 12-17 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine. Minors must have parental consent or a special exemption to be vaccinated.

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