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Local health districts are at or above 50% vaccination rate for people 12 and older


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IDAHO FALLS — Local health districts are hoping to see vaccination numbers increase as the holidays approach and family gatherings take place.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports that Eastern Idaho Public Health has 56%, or 103,591, of its residents 12 and older who have been fully vaccinated. That number jumps to 61%, or 114,234 people, in the district who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Southeastern Idaho Public Health stands at 50%, or 73,288, of its residents 12 and older have also been fully vaccinated, according to IDHW. There’s a 5% increase when it comes to the number of people in the district who have received at least one dose in the same age group, for a total of 80,399 people.

(EIPH serves Bonneville, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison and Teton counties. SIPH serves Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Butte, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida and Power counties.)

“We know that those vaccinations are definitely the best tool that we have for keeping people from developing severe illness, ending up in the hospital and dying as a result of COVID,” Maggie Mann, SIPH director, told “We continue to strongly encourage people to talk to their health care provider and get vaccinated.”

As of Wednesday evening, EIPH had 116 new COVID-19 cases to bring the grand total of confirmed and probable cases to 38,222. Forty-nine people are hospitalized with COVID, and there have been 350 COVID-19-related deaths. There are 802 active cases, and 37,070 have recovered.

SIPH tallied 73 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This number brings the total of cases in the health district to 26,234. There are currently 62 people in the hospital, and there has been a total of 400 deaths. There are 610 active cases, and 25,224 people have recovered.

“We trended downward (in active cases) as a district for a few weeks in a row from the middle of September … but we’ve since started going back up week by week,” said James Corbett, EIPH Community Health Division director.

Statewide, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says there have been 298,634 total cases, 130,534 people are estimated to have recovered, and 3,703 Idaho residents have died as a result of COVID-19.

“Our choices will help determine if this continues to get better or if we have another wave or peak coming in the next couple of months.”

Earlier this week, IDHW and Southwest District Health confirmed the first death of an Idaho child due to COVID-19. The child was an infant and died in October. Mann said that generally speaking, most kids who get COVID-19 will do OK, but not all of them.

RELATED: First death of child due to COVID-19 reported in Idaho

“It’s taking a gamble to assume your child will get better without any complications,” Mann said. “In the last couple of months, we’ve seen more kids statewide needing hospital level care (and) needing ICU level care, either from the viral infection itself or from the inflammatory system response that we’re seeing in kids. (It) usually occurs four to six weeks post-viral infection.”

Mann said they’re encouraging families to get their kids between the ages of 5 and 11 vaccinated because they’re still able to spread the virus to older adults.

“As much as we’d like to be, we aren’t through this yet. Our choices will help determine if this continues to get better or if we have another wave or peak coming in the next couple of months,” she said. “Being fully vaccinated, getting a booster dose and getting kids vaccinated — those things are going to be critically important as we move forward.”

Corbett said that as the weather changes and the holidays approach, people are more likely to gather together inside. By people getting the vaccine, people are not only protecting themselves but the community and close family members, he said.

“One thing I want people to remember … is to stay home when they’re sick,” Corbett said. “Whether it’s a cold or something else, it’s certainly not helpful to pass that along at this time. If individuals can again, do good hygiene practices. … Staying home when you’re ill and seeking testing if it’s indicated by your health care provider are vital aspects, as well as getting vaccinated and masking if you so choose, would be helpful.”

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