MAGIC VALLEY — With the CDC no longer requiring masks for those who are fully vaccinated, health experts expect a significant surge in COVID-19 cases within the next two weeks. Health officials with St. Luke's Magic Valley say Idaho may not see that surge, since the numbers continue to stay low.
“A lot of us think that the risk of there being big surges without there being a dramatic change in a variant that gets around the vaccine remains very low. Even with our somewhat lower than national average vaccination rates, we are still at 50 percent vaccination rate and even higher 75 percent in the higher-risk population," Dr. Joshua Kern, Vice President of Medical Affairs for St. Luke's Magic Valley, said.
St. Luke's contributes the low numbers to vaccination rates and native immunity, meaning people who have been infected with the virus and are still immune to the disease.
But they say all of this does not mean we are completely in the clear yet. Officials still urge people to continue to get tested for COVID-19 even they aren't feeling any symptoms to help keep those numbers low.
For those who are not vaccinated or don't plan to be, they urge them to continue to wear a mask in public spaces.
“How long that immunity lasts and what the fall looks like when we go back in and people start heading back inside, I think that’s where most of us have uncertainty or concerns about the future, what the fall looks like as schools come back into session and people start being inside more," Kern said.
In case there is a sudden surge in cases, they say they are continuing to follow their safety protocols and keeping an eye on the number of cases to stay prepared. But if everything remains the same they don't expect that surge at all.