MAGIC VALLEY — The South Central Public Health District released the COVID-19 Risk Levels for South Central Idaho last Thursday, which show six of the eight counties in the Magic Valley are now at the moderate risk level.
Only Gooding and Lincoln County remain at the minimal risk level.
According to the South Central Public Health District, 278 cases were reported district-wide between July 20 to 27, and in their recent most recent risk level release Twin Falls County had the highest positivity rate of 8.79%.
The last time the health district witnessed numbers like this was in February, coming out of a surge in cases. Now COVID-19 cases are on the rise again, and officials think it could get worse.
“Seeing this increase in cases in our region and that it will likely continue, tells us that what we’re in right now is likely worse than what our risk level assessment is telling us it is," said Brianna Bodily, the spokesperson for the South Central Public Health District. "The next time we have a risk level assessment, conditions will likely be even worse in our counties.”
The reason why the district feels conditions are worse than what the risk level is saying is that their data tells them what is happening right now. Since there are most likely people who have contracted COVID and have yet to get tested, that data will be seen with the next assessment.
The health district has several concerns regarding potential exposure, the impact on vulnerable populations, schools reopening, and of course the delta variant.
“It is further evidence to indicate that we probably have quite a bit more delta variant in our community than has been detected so far. Which is very concerning because that would indicate that this is only going to continue to spread,” said Bodily.
Health officials are also concerned about if this upward trend continues, it could impact the upcoming months when the weather starts to cool down.
“People are going to start gathering doors for dinner parties, for Halloween parties, for get togethers as the weather cools, and then we’re going to start into the Holiday season," said Bodily. "When people are gathering from all around the country, possibly even the world, and bring whatever disease in their community they might have.”
The health district is encouraging residents to do their best to stay healthy by wearing masks, getting vaccinated, practicing hygiene, staying home when sick and social distancing.
For residents who have opted to not receive the vaccine and do not feel comfortable wearing a mask, the health district is asking them to social distance and if you're showing symptoms of being sick, remain home.