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The rate of positive COVID-19 tests in Blaine County increased to 13.65 percent during the week from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6.

Blaine County’s COVID-19 case rate has dropped marginally but the county remains at “critical” risk and could face another surge later this month, officials warned Thursday in an online update.

Based on a seven-day average, the county’s number of new daily cases per hypothetical 100,000 residents decreased to 56.5 from 61.4 the previous week, according to from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6 data compiled by the county’s risk-assessment model. A rate above 25 per 100,000 is considered “critical.” The rate of COVID-19 tests registering as positive increased to 13.65 percent from 12.52 percent the previous week. A positivity rate above 10 percent is considered “critical.”

The county has four risk levels in its model: minimal, moderate, high and critical. It reassesses its risk level every Thursday.

“Blaine County’s average new case rate has dropped slightly, but there is a risk for another spike with increased visitation to the county over the last couple of weekends and the upcoming Presidents’ Day weekend,” the county’s online informational dashboard states.

In a developing trend, the 18-29 age group recorded the highest number of new cases, with 20 in the seven-day span. The next highest age group was 30-39, with 13 new cases in the county.

Local hospital capacity was assessed as “moderate.” On Wednesday, St. Luke’s Wood River had two COVID patients in the hospital, St. Luke’s reported.

Earlier this week, County Commissioner Angenie McCleary advised that residents continue to follow COVID-19 mitigation measures.

“Given our current situation, it’s important that the community remain vigilant and reduce

social gatherings,” she said.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare by Thursday morning had recorded 166,553 cases of COVID-19 in Idaho since the pandemic began last winter, including 458 new cases on Wednesday. The state has recorded 1,791 COVID-related deaths.

Blaine County has recorded 2,083 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, with 15 deaths attributed to the virus. One death—of a woman in her 70s at a long-term care facility—was recorded in Blaine County earlier this week.

Meanwhile, efforts to vaccinate Idahoans continue, with Idaho now receiving about 25,000 doses of approved COVID vaccines per week. Statewide, 203,719 doses of COVID vaccines had been administered to 160,360 people by Thursday morning, with 43,359 people receiving the recommended two doses, the Department of Health and Welfare reported. Vaccines have been administered to 3,635 people in Blaine County, the department reported.

The Boise-based St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus health systems have expanded reporting on their vaccination efforts. Both organizations have added an additional tab specific to COVID vaccinations on their online COVID-19 data dashboards, the health systems announced Wednesday.

The additional dashboard reports include the total doses and types of doses administered, total doses received and scheduled appointments for both primer and booster shots. They also report the total number of doses in inventory. The information is specific to St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus and does not reflect vaccination programs of other health-care providers in the state, such as other hospitals, the state health districts, clinics or pharmacies.

St. Luke’s on Thursday reported that systemwide it had administered 35,686 doses of COVID vaccine, of 37,805 doses received. It has 21,757 vaccination appointments scheduled in the next 15 days, it reported. Its website is stlukesonline.org.

“The ability for health-care organizations to administer the vaccine is driven primarily by supply, which continues to be extremely limited,” a joint news release from St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus states. “Their shared goal is to administer vaccine to eligible groups in a timely manner.”

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