MAGIC VALLEY — The South Central Public Health District, SCPHD, says they are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases contracted in public spaces, and seven of the eight counties in the Magic Valley are now seeing community spread.
Twin Falls, Blaine, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, and Minidoka county are all seeing community spreads of the virus. SCPHD describes community spread as at least one person in each county reporting not knowing they were ever around someone who was COVID-19 positive.
"People are going out into the community and are getting infected as they do so. This isn't something that should be a surprise. It definitely doesn't surprise us," Brianna Bodily, Public Information Officer for South Central Public Health District, said.
Health officials urge residents who live in those counties with community spread to continue to wear a mask and social distance because the virus may be spreading from people who aren't showing any symptoms.
"Whenever we have community spread, that means COVID-19 is within the community and is potentially in any public area. So if you go to the grocery store, if you go to the local park, if you go outside of your home essentially or talk to someone you don't live with, coworker, neighbor, friend you're putting yourself at risk for contracting COVID-19," Bodily said.
SCPHD contacts most people who test positive for COVID-19 within 1-2 days after their results have been reported to the district, but since seeing a surge in cases, it is harder for them to contact each person, which also makes it harder for them to continue to pursue contact tracing.
"I know that a lot of people are tired about the preventative measures we have been talking about since the beginning of the pandemic, but we continue to urge people to take those precautions because they are straightforward measures, but they are very effective," Bodily said.