TWIN FALLS — Over the past week, Idaho has witnessed a growing number of COVID-19 cases. According to the governor's office official coronavirus website, there are currently 6,117 confirmed and probable cases in the state. Just today, there has been an additional 365 new cases.
Healthcare officials, like many members of the public, felt comfortable and excited about going into phase four of the rebound plan. With the recent uptick in cases, the concern is beginning to grow amongst nurses and doctors.
Dr. Joshua Kern, Vice President of Medical Affairs at St. Luke's stated, "The rise in cases now that we're seeing in Idaho is being associated with an increase in patients in the hospital. That's when you start to get kind of worried. It's when you know you're seeing see an uptick in the hospitalized patients."
Kern feels that the growing number of cases and hospitalizations is partially due to people either not taking stage four seriously or not truly understanding what stage four entails. Stage four does not mean that we are fully open, while restrictions have certainly let up, COVID is certainly not out of the picture.
The objective of this rebound plan has been to flatten the curve, not to get rid of COVID completely. While we're still able to have larger events, we people still need to be cautious once there and with regular day to activities. Social distancing, basic hygiene, and despite there being a choice, people are encouraged to wear face-masks.
Since we are now in the middle of summer and restrictions have eased off, people
need to remember to be safe, especially travelers. It is heavily encouraged to wear a face-mask if you are on the road to ensure you do not spread the disease. It is also essential to make sure when going to restaurants to ensure it is an establishment that is regularly cleaning and keeping people apart. Due to the length of time people typically spend in a restaurant, there is an increased risk of getting exposed.
The increase in cases happening right now is also very worrisome to healthcare professionals since this is one of the biggest weekends in the summer. Those partaking in Fourth of July celebrations need to be safe this weekend. "Stay outside, limit it to a reasonable number of people, particularly those you know have been behaving or quarantining at least a little bit. And again, don't go out to a place if you feel like you're sick," said Kern.