Central District Health is urging people take extra safety precautions as COVID-19 cases and Delta variant concerns increase.
CDH announced Thursday COVID-19 cases and test positivity rates have been steadily rising throughout its four-county jurisdiction — Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley Counties — since the week of June 27.
CDH reports around 143 cases of coronavirus were being reported in a week across the four counties. Now, that number averages between 80-100 cases in a day, with test positivity ranging from 7.3-10%, according to CDH.
In addition to rising case and positivity numbers, CDH reports Boise-area waste water testing also shows a "significant increase" in virus levels found in the water, with the Delta variant as the predominant strain.
“What’s concerning about these increases is that we know the Delta variant is highly transmissible and typically has more severe impacts. Our jurisdiction is still sitting at a 58 percent vaccine rate with kids under the age of 12 unable to be vaccinated who will soon be going back to school. Many measures throughout the community that were once in place like plexiglass at checkout stands, limited capacities, and even sanitization have relaxed in many cases or don’t exist. We ask for people’s personal accountability to prevail – wear a mask when you’re in an indoor public setting, continue to prioritize hand washing and keep your distance, and we ask those who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine to do so,” said Russ Duke, district director for Central District Health, in a statement.
CDH encourages residents to social distance and wear a face covering in public, regardless of vaccination status, and to get vaccinated.
“People who are getting sick from this virus and are needing hospitalization are almost exclusively among those who are not yet vaccinated. Since January 2021, over 99 percent of cases in the counties served by CDH have been among those not yet vaccinated and 96 percent of those who have needed hospitalization for COVID illness are among those not yet vaccinated,” Duke said.
Recommendations for the school year
The health district also announced it is adopting the Centers for Disease Controls levels for community transmission for the 2021-2022 school year instead of using its own. The new system will be based on the CDC's four-category system and "will allow for better consistency" on indoor mask wearing, according to CDH.
The categories are recommendations, and CDH can only make recommendations, not mandates to districts or individual schools. Weekly community transmission levels for schools will be posted once school years begin in August, according to CDH.