COVID-19 positivity rate hits record high in Idaho, cases continue to climb

Posted at 12:16 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 09:52:25-05

IDAHO — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare held its weekly COVID-19 briefing Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. where state health leaders discussed more on the recent activation of Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) in Southern Idaho.

Idaho’s COVID-19 numbers keep going in the wrong direction according to state health leaders. The surge of COVID-19 cases across Idaho has impacted staffing at health care systems, and the blood supply available, leading the Department of Health and Welfare to implement CSC.

CSC are in place for three public health districts — Southwest District Health, Central District Health and South Central District Health due to the surge of COVID-19 cases impacting staffing and blood supply at local health care systems.

The statewide testing positivity rate is at an all-time high in Idaho at 34.1% and some healthcare providers are reporting testing positivity rates at 60%.

The state is seeing record high numbers of new positive cases through this surge. There are nearly 40,000 positive lab results that have not been reviewed yet or included in the state’s daily case counts. On top of the backlog, more tests are going unrecorded. The state does not count at-home COVID-19 test results, which also are being used by Idahoans and unofficially adding to the number of positive cases.

On Monday, Idaho reported 3,002 new cases in the state and eight new deaths reported to the state since Friday.

Health officials say, based on the data it's estimated that there were about 29,800 new cases last week or just over 4,000 new cases every single day and that omicron is spreading quicker than any other strain we have seen before it.

“This current surge of COVID-19 patients has exceeded the healthcare resources in Idaho," Jeppesen said. "This surge is different than the delta surge late last year. During the delta surge, there was focused pressure on critical care capacity. With the omicron surge, there is tremendous pressure on the entire Idaho healthcare system.”

If current trends continue, Jeppesen says he expects CSC will be activated in other areas of the state as the state’s health care systems are fragile.

Health leaders continue to urge the community to wear high-quality masks, get a vaccine dose or booster shot and stay home if sick.