‘Time to get the vaccine is now’: Gov. Little makes another push, state adds 795 cases

Posted at 7:18 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 21:18:32-04

This article was originally published by Ian Max Stevenson in the Idaho Statesman.

Gov. Brad Little continued to push Idahoans to get vaccinated on Thursday, a day when the state added nearly 800 new COVID-19 cases.

The recent surge has driven the statewide seven-day average of new daily cases to 722, higher than it’s been since January, according to data from the Department of Health and Welfare. The state’s positivity rate also went up again, to 12.8% for the week ending Aug. 14. That rate needs to be at 5% or below to show containment of the virus’ spread, according to experts.

In a news release focused on the new school year, the governor reiterated remarks he made at a press conference last week and asked residents to get vaccinated now to protect students and others, as hospitals continue to see increased caseloads. He said the surge threatens to interrupt in-person learning at schools.

“The highly contagious delta variant is circulating in our communities and hospitals are filling up again with COVID patients,” the governor said. “This time, though, the patients are almost entirely unvaccinated people.”

Since January, 98.9% of new cases, 98.6% of hospitalizations and 98.7% of deaths have been among unvaccinated people, according to data released by the governor’s office.

“To those friends and neighbors of ours waiting to receive the vaccine, the time to get the vaccine is now — when our students are going back to school,” Little said.

About 47.3% of Idaho’s eligible population (12 and older) has been fully vaccinated against the virus, compared to 59.6% of Americans across the country. A total of 713,048 residents are fully vaccinated.

So far this summer, the rising caseloads might be encouraging some hesitant residents to get vaccinated. Since the week of July 18, the number of vaccine doses administered each week has risen by over 60%, from around 13,000 doses to 21,000 the week of Aug. 8, according to state data.

The state added just one death Thursday, a day after adding 22. The toll stands at 2,281 since the start of the pandemic.

As of Aug. 16, there were 377 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 at Idaho hospitals, and 120 COVID patients in an ICU, according to data from Health and Welfare.