With the federal COVID-19 public health emergency having expired on May 11, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are no longer publishing data on COVID case numbers and risk levels.
“Our response to the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, remains a public health priority, but thanks to the administration’s whole-of-government approach to combatting the virus, we are in a better place in our response than we were three years ago, and we can transition away from the emergency phase,” the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated on its website.
In its final report on COVID-19 cases in Idaho issued on May 10, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported that Blaine County’s daily seven-day moving average of cases per hypothetical 100,000 population was 1.2, very low compared to other points during the pandemic. The high for the year was 21.1 on March 1. The peak level in the county of 443.7 was on Jan. 9, 2022, when the omicron variant of COVID-19 caused a sharp spike in cases.
Through May 10, the Department of Health and Welfare had recorded 526,118 cases of COVID-19 in Idaho, contributing to 5,479 deaths. The department recorded 7,377 COVID-19 cases in Blaine County from the start of the pandemic through May 10, contributing to 34 deaths.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also changed its COVID-19 reporting. The agency is no longer reporting aggregate cases and deaths, nor is it reporting COVID-19 community threat and transmission levels. At the conclusion of its pandemic-era reporting last week, the CDC had tallied 1,127,928 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Blaine County’s largest health provider, St. Luke’s, announced Tuesday that it will now offer only Pfizer brand COVID-19 vaccinations. St. Luke’s Wood River Public Relations Manager Joy Prudek said the change was made to streamline the organization’s operations, not because it was actively favoring the benefit of one brand over another.
“It’s just easier,” she said, noting that different vaccine brands have different dosing protocols.
While COVID-19 cases have declined significantly in recent months, cases do still occur, Prudek noted.
“Yes, we still see patients with COVID and who are admitted because of it,” Prudek said.
On Tuesday, the St. Luke’s Health System had 504 patients admitted to its numerous facilities, with five of those patients testing positive for COVID-19. Of the 11 patients admitted to St. Luke’s Wood River hospital on Tuesday, none tested positive for COVID-19. ￼
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