TWIN FALLS — The South Central Public Health District's most recent COVID-19 risk level assessment shows the Magic Valley is experiencing a downward trend in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
But officials also want to reiterate this does not mean we're out of the woods just yet.
“We’re not at a point yet where we can breathe a big sigh of relief," said Briana Bodily, spokesperson for the South Central Public Health District. "This is really just like a heads up, like, hey, we’re moving in the right direction.”
Seven of the eight counties in the Magic Valley remain at the high-risk level, the second-highest level. Yet, it's not due to COVID-19 case numbers in South Central Idaho.
Instead, it's due to the impact regional hospitals are still feeling.
“They’re still relying on those overflow beds, they don't have any standard beds necessarily available," said Bodily. "There is more capacity but it’s not standard capacity, we’re not back to normal yet.”
Although the larger regional hospitals are still experiencing effects from the surge which occurred in late summer and early fall, local hospitals are much better off than they were before.
“When you have to go in with a broken arm or something like that, and you don’t need to be transferred immediately into an emergency department, we’re seeing much less impact there,” said Bodily. "Some of those needs that our local hospitals can fill, we’re seeing a lot more access and a lot more ability to fulfill those needs.”
Even though it's tough to predict what the future may look like in terms of COVID-19 case numbers, due to increasing vaccination rates, health officials remain optimistic about the downward trend continuing.
“We’re probably going to see cases continue to decrease, hopefully to the point that by the time we hit Thanksgiving and Christmas, we won’t even have to be encouraging people to take as nearly as many precautions,” said Bodily.