As COVID-19 case numbers inch higher in Blaine County, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has rated the county’s community-impact level at “medium.”
The CDC assessment on June 30 advised that people who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 talk to their health-care provider about whether to wear a mask, that residents stay up to date on vaccinations and that people get tested for the virus if they have symptoms.
The CDC’s levels—low, medium and high—are determined by reviewing COVID-19 hospital admissions and the total number of new cases in the area.
In Blaine County, the daily seven-day moving average incidence rate of COVID-19 cases per hypothetical 100,000 population rose to seasonal highs of 41 on June 27 and July 4, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported. The number has been slowly climbing since it dropped to single digits in early spring, after the omicron-driven winter surge sent the metric soaring to about 443 in January.
The South Central Public Health District—which on June 16 rated Blaine County’s COVID-19 risk as “moderate”—recorded 64 new COVID-19 cases in the county during the week of June 30 to July 6. The district—which serves eight counties in south-central Idaho—recorded 251 cases in Twin Falls County the same week.
Through July 6, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare had recorded 6,419 COVID-19 cases in Blaine County since the pandemic started, contributing to 30 deaths.
Health officials have stated that COVID-19 case numbers in all areas are likely higher than recorded in recent months because many people are being tested at home and not in health-care centers.
In Idaho, the daily seven-day moving average incidence rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population rose to a seasonal high of 27.3 on July 3, before dropping to 19.9 on July 6, Health and Welfare reported. It had dropped to about 3 in early April, after the winter surge pushed the number to about 243 in January.
Health and Welfare recorded 1,913 new COVID-19 cases in Idaho from Monday to Wednesday, bringing the total count since the start of the pandemic to just over 466,000.
Nationally, numbers have also been slowly rising. The CDC’s daily seven-day moving average of case numbers was just over 106,000 on July 5, with nearly 170,000 new cases recorded that day. The daily seven-day average had dropped to about 26,000 in March, after the new-case count surged to more than a million in one day in early January.
COVID-related hospitalizations have also been steadily increasing since early April, CDC reports indicate.
Meanwhile, Idaho’s COVID-19 vaccination rate continues to lag the national numbers. The CDC reported June 30 that approximately 67% of all Americans are “fully vaccinated” but might not have received either one or two booster doses of the available vaccines. In Idaho, approximately 52% of all residents are “fully vaccinated,” the Department of Health and Welfare reported Thursday.
Blaine County is by far 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%.