Health officials 'cautiously optimistic' at small dip in COVID data

Posted at 11:49 AM, Oct 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-12 19:51:16-04

IDAHO — For the first time in three months, there has been a small decline in COVID-19 numbers in Idaho, but health officials say it's still not enough and Idahoans need to still be cautious.

Idaho’s top health leaders held their weekly media briefing at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss Idaho’s current status in the state’s fight against COVID-19.

The Department of Health and Welfare is reporting the number of patients hospitalized and in the ICU with COVID-19 has seen a small decline over the last week which could be from a number of reasons.

“We're still tracking pretty high end of the curve however as many of you might be aware, some of our local public health districts have been experiencing some difficulty keeping up with the number of lab reports coming in and so case investigations are not being completed as quickly as we would hope,” Kathryn Turner said.

According to Turner, the state is roughly almost 9,000 lab reports behind.


“Our case counts are not really reflecting what they should be when we project them onto that the curve line. So, one of the things that we're doing is offering assistance to our local public health districts to see if we can help them get caught up so we can have a better idea of where we might be,” Turner added.

Still, officials are urging Idahoans to get vaccinated as 87% percent of deaths due to COVID-19 from May to October are from those not fully vaccinated.

Last week, Idaho reached yet another grim milestone in the pandemic, where now over 3,000 Idahoans have died due to COVID-19. The state remains in Crisis Standards of Care and hospitals are still stretched thin with resources and staff to treat the large volume of sick patients.

According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, about 53.3% of Idaho’s population ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated and 804,223 Idahoans are fully vaccinated depending on the brand.

Chief Medical Officer for Saint Alphonsus Dr. Steven Nemerson says COVID is here to stay and Idahoans must remain vigilant.

"I am here to tell you that we have lost the war. COVID is here to stay,” Nemerson said. “The reason it is here to stay is because we cannot vaccinate enough of the public to fully eradicate the disease. Absent, being able to do that and accomplish herd immunity, we now need to move into the phase of recognizing that COVID is going to be a disease to be managed for the long term future.

Halloween and many other holidays are coming up, and although there is a very small decrease in COVID-19, community transmission is still high and health officials ask the community to do what they can to keep themselves healthy.

No new case numbers or deaths were reported by the Department of Health and Welfare Monday due to the holiday.