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12 regional COVID-19 deaths reported since Monday; Lemhi moves to critical risk level

Coronavirus

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Watch the latest Eastern Idaho Public Health board meeting above.

IDAHO FALLS — Eastern Idaho saw a record number of COVID-19 deaths this week, and one county within Eastern Idaho Public Health’s jurisdiction has reached the critical risk level on the COVID-19 Regional Response Plan.

The health district announced Thursday, that Lemhi County has exceeded the critical threshold of 45 active COVID-19 cases per 10,000 people for three sustained days.

The critical risk level indicates an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks. Data from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare shows Lemhi County’s rate of new COVID-19 infections per capita tripled in the last week of October and is now the highest in the state, according to the Idaho Statesman.

“I had maybe one or two staff members out with COVID up until a few weeks ago, and then it just kind of all exploded, and we’re down almost 40% of our workers right now, and it’s really difficult,” Jeanie Gentry, CEO of Steele Memorial Medical Center in Salmon told the newspaper. “And we’re at our capacity with inpatients that have COVID.”

Lemhi County has also seen four COVID-19 deaths, three of which were reported Thursday.

Since Monday in eastern Idaho there have been 12 COVID-19 deaths — 10 in EIPH, and two in Southeast Idaho Public Health. All the deaths have been among the elderly. In total between the two health districts 116 eastern Idahoans have died as a result of contracting the virus – half of those have been in the last four weeks.

Statewide there have been 671 COVID-19 deaths.

Despite the growing number of deaths, recoveries still far exceed those that die. COVID-19 has an extremely high recovery rate and the vast majority of people who catch the virus will recover at home with no problems. More than 15,000 people have recovered from COVID-19 in eastern Idaho, and more than 31,000 have recovered statewide.

EIPH officials also say there is growing concern about the start of influenza season. Local medical professionals say co-infections of COVID-19 and influenza are difficult to treat and manage.

On Wednesday, IDHW announced the first two influenza deaths of the season, who had also contracted the COVID-19 virus. Local health districts recommend residents get a flu shot to combat influenza.

For more information about the data discussed in this story, please refer to video of the most recent EIPH board meeting in the video player above. Or visit the EastIdahoNews.com COVID-19 page.

In order to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and also influenza, EIPH recommends Idahoans:

  • Keep at least six feet between you and others in public
  • Wear face coverings in public places
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Disinfect surfaces and objects regularly

Current COVID-19 case counts, details on all cases, and much more can be found on EIPH’s website and dashboard at www.EIPH.Idaho.gov. Questions can be answered by calling (208) 522-0310 or toll free at (855) 533-3160 (Monday-Friday, 8-5), emailing COVIDQuestions@eiph.idaho.gov, or asking through our Facebook page at @EIPH.Idaho.

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