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COVID-19 positivity rates hit record high in Magic Valley

Posted at 5:17 PM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 19:43:50-05

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The South Central Public Health District placed all eight counties in the Magic Valley at the critical risk level for its COVID-19 risk level assessment last week. Today, the health district announced that the current positivity rate in South Central Idaho hit record highs.

“There is a lot of disease in our communities right now, and it’s spreading very quickly,” said Brianna Bodily, spokesperson for the South Central Public Health District.

The current positivity rate for the Magic Valley is at 37%, which is double the peak rate from the surge this past Fall and still significantly higher than the surge in the Fall of 2020 which was at 24%.

“If we see a drop in how many people are testing, and a rise in positivity rates, that’s usually because fewer people are testing, so the people who are testing are absolutely positive they’re sick. That’s not what we’re seeing right now," Bodily said. "We’ve actually seen a huge increase in testing right alongside that positivity rate.”

Although currently recorded case counts are not as high as other peak surges, they're expected to grow as the majority of counties in the Magic Valley are trending upwards.

“When you look at some of those peak surges, that was the peak," said Bodily. "That was when they started going back down in cases. That was the apex of that surge. We’re still in the first part, we’re only a few weeks in.”

With this surge, it took five weeks for the Magic Valley to have over 1,000 cases in a calendar week, while in the 2021 Fall surge, it took 11 weeks to have over 1,000 cases in a week's time.

The health district is reporting an average of 150 cases per day for this region. Following encouragement from state officials, South Central Public Health will no longer be working to reach out to every person who has tested positive and instead prioritize high-risk populations.

“So those are people who are hospitalized, so they obviously have a severe case," said Bodily. "People who are living in congregate living facilities, this means people who are living close together. So, dorm rooms, jails, long-term care facilities.”