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Health officials encouraging you to get vaccinated amid surge in COVID-19 cases


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IDAHO FALLS – Hospitals statewide are overwhelmed due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Though healthcare providers are doing all they can to keep up and provide the level of care everyone expects, Eastern Idaho Public Health reports the patient load is quickly approaching peak 2020 levels.

“We have already surpassed the number of patients in Intensive Care Units compared to last year. This is stressing our healthcare resources statewide. As COVID-19 cases continue to increase and result in more people needing to be hospitalized, this could mean that our state will need to enact Crisis Standards of Care,” a news release from EIPH says.

Crisis Standards of Care provide hospitals with guidance in the event demands exceed the supply because of resource scarcity.

The increase in COVID cases also coincides with kids going back to school, many of which are not yet able to get vaccinated. The vaccine is currently only available to kids 12 and up.

Until a vaccine becomes available for young children, EIPH is encouraging those who are eligible to get vaccinated.

“The Delta variant of the virus is the predominant strain circulating in our state and it is much more transmissible than the original virus. While the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines is not as high against the Delta variant, being fully vaccinated greatly reduces your risk of getting severely ill, being admitted to the hospital, or dying,” EIPH says.

The full FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine is available for ages 16 and older. The Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-15 is available under an Emergency Use Authorization. The Moderna vaccine, which has completed its application for full FDA approval, is also available for people ages 18 and older.

For those who need a COVID test but would prefer to stay home, an at-home test is available. Call (208) 533-3219 to learn how it works.

Public health officials are also encouraging you to wear a mask in public, continue to social distance, wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer and stay home if you’re sick.

The vaccine is free for everyone. Call (208) 533-3223 to schedule an appointment. You can also search online to find vaccination opportunities near you.