BOISE, Idaho —
The current surge of Covid-19 infections in Southern Idaho is breaking records, according to South Central Public Health District (SCPHD). The health district warns that cases are growing faster than previous surges in the area and that the positivity rate has hit record highs.
SCPHD said that when the positivity rate increases above 5%, it is a red flag that the virus is spreading quickly within communities. When that happens, they encourage community members to take immediate action to prevent further spread.
The most recent positivity rate shows that south-central Idaho has a 37% covid-19 test positivity rate. Nearly double the rate in the last surge of covid cases.
“More than a third of our neighbors and family members testing for COVID-19 are actually sick with the disease. That’s incredibly alarming,” said Logan Hudson, SCPHD Division Administrator. “This disease is spreading at a rate faster than we’ve ever seen before.”
SCPHD says the current covid-19 surge is influenced by the presence of the Omicron variant. During the 2021 fall covid surge, it took eleven weeks for reported cases to climb above 1,000 cases per week. The current surge took less than half that time to make the same climb.
SCPHD is currently receiving an average of 150 cases per day. Due to the increased number of cases, SCPHD has had to scale back on the number of case investigations and focus on high-risk residents, including people living in congregated living facilities (dorms, long-term care facilities, jails, etc.), hospitalized residents, and healthcare/frontline workers.
“This change in procedure means we are no longer going to be the first ones reaching out to many of our residents who test positive. We won’t be able to collect quite as much data, and we will rely more heavily on the accuracy of the lab reports sent to us,” said Hudson.
SCPHD asks those community members who test positive to assist in the new process by self-reporting symptoms on their designated web form.
“We all play an important role in slowing the spread of disease and protecting our community. That role becomes more critical when we are facing a case surge like this one,” said Hudson. “Please continue to do all you can to protect your health and the health of the people around you.”
If residents have any questions about COVID-19, including quarantine guidelines, what to do if you test positive, when to test after exposure, masking guidance, etc., please reach out to the COVID-19 hotline at 208-737-1138 or check the SCPHD website.
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