MAGIC VALLEY — The South Central Public Health District (SCPHD) categorized all eight counties in the Magic Valley under the low-risk level for COVID-19. This is only the second time this has happened since the SCPHD started assessing counties last August.
SCPHD was keeping a close eye on Twin Falls, Blaine, and Gooding counties since they had cases with COVID-19 variants. Those were also the only counties that were in the moderate risk level, while the others were in the low-risk level.
“While we were keeping a very close eye on them and at first the presence of those variants did increase our other epidemiological factors into a moderate zone as we continue to see no significant increase in the case rate, we dropped that back down into our minimal risk zone," said Brianna Bodily, spokesperson for South Central Public Health District.
They credit the drop in cases to different factors including vaccinations being open to everyone over the age of 16. They also say vaccinations are the one factor that will get us closer to normal life.
“Every time we get a resident vaccinated it helps them, their household, and their community stay safer from COVID-19 so it's a very very effective way to prevent the spread of this disease," Bodily said.
SCPHD says people continuing to take proper safety precautions, like social distancing and wearing a mask, has also played a part in the lower case rates.
“Those habitual efforts now are making a big difference in our community as well. Not everyone in our community is making those efforts, some people are only making some of them but every effort made makes an impact on our community so that has been extremely effective as well," Bodily said.
The warmer weather on the way could also have a positive impact on the decrease in cases, with more people being able to gather outdoors.
“Fresh air is coming through and people are more often congregating outside instead of indoors where the disease is more likely to spread so we also have weather and season on our side in helping prevent the spread of this disease," Bodily said.
Although some may start wanting to breathe a sigh of relief, SCPHD says we are not completely out of the woods yet.
“By our definition, we are not, but we are in a much better place. We’ll continue to be in a better place as we see more and more of our residents become vaccinated," Bodily said.