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'We’ve got to stay awake'; Health leaders analyze possible impacts of COVID-19 moving forward

COVID testing
Posted at 5:04 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 19:04:06-04

IDAHO — Idaho is again seeing an increase in new COVID-19 cases and although we’re all tired of hearing about the pandemic, officials say it's not time to let your guard down.

Health leaders say they are still analyzing the potential impacts moving forward and are encouraging the community to stay vigilant.

“I’d say that we shouldn’t fall asleep,” St. Luke’s Chief Executive Physician Dr. Jim Souza said. “We’ve got to stay awake and keep our eye open on this virus and what it might do next.”

In January, Omicron spread like wildfire taking most people by surprise and causing one of the biggest spikes Idaho has seen since the start of the pandemic.

Now health officials are seeing a slight uptick in cases again, so they are urging the public to alert though the pandemic feels tiresome.

Related: St. Luke's now offering Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot for 5-11 age group

“It’s been two and half years that we have been hearing about COVID-19 every day in the news and for the most part people have been doing their best to do the right thing and to alter their lifestyle and alter their habits to avoid spreading the virus or getting infected,” Deputy State Epidemiologist Kathryn Turner said.

Since the virus can evolve so quickly, officials worry what could be around the corner and how fast things could spread.

“These omicron variants in addition to becoming more contagious and so increasingly infectious is the immune escape,” Souza said. “I know plenty of people who were vaccinated and infected during BA. 1 omicron who now are now getting reinfected less than three months later with BA. 2 omicron.”

The state is estimated they are only seeing about 20 to 25% of all cases due to at-home testing – or people not testing at all.