Health officials worry about surge in the next 5-10 days following holiday

Posted at 4:34 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 19:05:42-05

BOISE — Holiday travel numbers from the Boise airport won't be in for another few weeks, but physicians fear any amount of holiday travel and gathering will fuel a rise in COVID cases in the next five to ten days.

"We're all very concerned that sometime in the next five to ten days, we'll see another surge of positive cases," Said Dr. David Peterman, Primary Health CEO.

As cases increase in the community, so have cases among health care employees.

"Two or three weeks ago, we had 30 or 40 employees out daily," said Peterman. "Now we're over 50 daily."

Testing numbers increased as well, leading up to Thanksgiving. Primary Health tested close to 300 people daily back in July and 400 in October. Now, at the end of November, they're close to 700 daily tests.

"In Ada County, the positivity rate 22%, and the positivity percent in Canyon County is 33-34%," said Peterman. "Those are both extremely high; they're some of the highest in the country and because of that and people recently traveling, or even family gatherings where they're exposed to others and they didn't keep their distance and wear their masks, yes we're all very concerned."

At this point, Central District Health recommends those who did travel this past holiday be vigilant for the next two weeks.

"Of course, those that are symptomatic we do recommend testing, but if someone just traveled and came back and thought well I'll just go get tested, be mindful of what that looks like, reach out to the testing center and try not to overburden them," said Brandon Atkins with Central District Health.

Health care leaders are concerned if the pattern continues for Christmas and New Years', the situation will be even direr.

"Our hospitals already are slowly approaching capacity, and as I've told you at Primary Health, our own clinics are being overwhelmed by demand," said Peterman.

"You may have picked up something from those travels, you may have taken something on those travels, you need to be mindful," said Atkins.