IDAHO — COVID-19 cases are starting to rise in Idaho and officials say things are trending in the wrong direction once again.
The state’s testing positivity rate is now up around 9%, up from 7.6% just last week, but state health leaders say we are in a “mini-uptick” rather than a surge.
St. Luke’s has also seen an uptick in the health system’s testing positivity rate over the last few weeks. According to St. Luke’s health leaders, over the last week, the health system's positivity rate reached 20% — much higher than the goal of 5%. For the last three weeks, the total number of patients in the hospital at St. Luke’s has been rising, but not as rapidly as with other COVID-19 surges.
"We know there's a whole bunch of infections happening now. Many of those turning into cases. But we think that the vaccine protection or previous infection protection are keeping those folks from moving into the more severe end of the spectrum, hospitalization, ICU hospitalization and god forbid, death," St Luke’s Chief Physician Executive Dr. Jim Souza said.
Although COVID-19 has been around for over two years now, both St. Luke's and the Department of Health and Welfare say it's not time to give up and you should still stay vigilant.
COVID-19 trends in Idaho are heading in the wrong direction. We’re hearing about more infections, and 9 percent of COVID-19 test results are positive (up from 7.6 percent the week before). In addition, hospitalizations also are ticking up. Learn more: https://t.co/Mdc8zoge1L pic.twitter.com/l1wFuRGJLv— DHW (@IDHW) June 7, 2022
IDHW officials say if Idaho follows the same trend other states have had, it's possible the rising rates could level off in a few weeks, but it would take the community staying vigilant and not letting their guard down.
“A lot of that depends on what new variants start to circulate, how the previous immunity or vaccination protects against those new variants and whether people will avoid or limit behavior that can result in the various spreading among small groups,” Deputy State Epidemiologist Kathryn Turner said.
With large gatherings due to the holiday weekend, graduations and nicer weather, it's possible to see a similar rise in cases soon. With at-home tests, the number’s on the state’s site aren't exactly accurate. IDHW is estimating they are only hearing about 20-25% of cases.