BOISE, Idaho — This story originally appeared in the Idaho Press.
Ada County COVID-19 community transmission levels have moved into the “high” category, according to maps on the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s website.
Ada County’s transmission levels have been particularly volatile the past three weeks, dancing between “high” and “medium” designations, Boise Weekly’s Tracy Bringhurst recently reported.
However, this increase in cases is not necessarily creating as big of a strain on hospital resources as it has in the past, according to Taylor Reeves, public relations coordinator for St. Luke’s Health System.
“We are continuing to see significant community transmission and the number of reported cases is only a fraction of the actual numbers of cases, due to not testing or home testing that is going unreported,” Reeves said in an email. “However, we are not seeing this translate into a significant increase in hospitalizations or ICU hospitalizations.”
Reeves said that while ICU hospitalizations for patients with COVID-19 has roughly doubled in the past six weeks, St. Luke’s has had anywhere from zero to three ICU patients with COVID during this same period of time.
According to DHW, current inpatient bed utilization for COVID-19 patients at Ada County hospitals is at 5.9% and COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people is 11.9.
Currently, Ada County is showing a test positivity rate of 10.9%, according to DHW.
Over 98% of these positive cases have been identified as the omicron variant of COVID-19.
This new data makes Ada County one of 627 counties in the United States to be in the “high” community transmission category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Other counties in Idaho that fall into the “high” level transmission rates are Elmore, Valley, Payette, Bear Lake, Idaho, Adams and Washington counties. Canyon County is at a “medium” level.
“We would expect to continue to see these elevated case rates for at least several more weeks,” Reeves said.
In communities with “high” transmission levels, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors in public, staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and getting tested if you have symptoms. Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness.
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