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Record number of COVID cases reported in eastern Idaho

Coronavirus

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The following is a news release from Eastern Idaho Public Health.

IDAHO FALLS — Eastern Idaho Public Health (EIPH) has seen its largest daily COVID-19 case count of the pandemic with 432 cases being reported yesterday. These unprecedented numbers are likely due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant that is now rapidly spreading across Idaho, the nation, and the world.

Case numbers are likely much higher than officially reported due to people not getting tested for a variety of reasons including personal choice, lack of availability of rapid testing supplies, and the underreporting of positive results from at-home tests.

Research is emerging that the Omicron variant currently causes less severe illness, and fortunately, we are not seeing a significant increase in hospitalizations in the region at this time, which is a trend we hope continues as our healthcare system is very vulnerable due to the unrelenting stress placed on them over the course of the pandemic. However, hospitalizations from COVID-19 tend to lag case numbers, sometimes up to several weeks, as it typically takes time for the infection to progress to a point where a person needs advanced care to manage the disease.

None of this is to say that we should not be concerned about this recent surge as there are still many people at risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 and the potential for economic disruption and societal chaos is high at this time. People who are unvaccinated, not fully vaccinated or boosted, and those with certain underlying or immune compromised conditions are at the greatest risk of severe illness and death from the virus.

To date, 409 community members have lost their lives to the virus and many, if not most, other people have been negatively impacted, in one way or another, by the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on our community and has disrupted our lives for nearly two years now. We all want things to get back to normal. But right now, while cases are surging and the level of disease spread in our communities is high, I urge everyone to protect themselves and their families, especially those who are at highest risk for severe illness from COVID-19,” stated Geri Rackow, EIPH Director. “We are a strong and resilient community; let’s just hold on a little bit longer as we make it to the other side of the pandemic.”

The COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses, continue to be effective at reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. We continue to recommend that everyone 5 years of age or older get the COVID-19 vaccine, and that individuals 12 and older get a COVID-19 booster shot when they are eligible. To schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 shot at EIPH, please call (208) 533-
3223. You may also visit www.vaccines.gov for a list of other providers throughout our region.

In addition to vaccination, other tried and true strategies to minimize the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 as well as other viruses include:

  • Wearing a well-fitting face covering in crowded public places
  • Maintaining space between yourself and others
  • Washing hands or using hand sanitizer
  • Staying home when sick, whether from COVID-19 or other illnesses, to prevent unnecessarily spreading germs to others
  • Getting tested for the virus and following the recommended guidance if you test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive.

CDC recently updated its guidelines for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and those who have been exposed to or come into contact with individuals who have COVID-19. Each situation is detailed below:

If You Test Positive for COVID-19

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status should:

  • Stay home for 5 days from your symptom onset.
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house. If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.
  • Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.

If You Were Exposed to Someone with COVID-19

If you:

Have been boosted OR completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6
months OR completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months:

  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days.
  • Test on day 5, if possible.
  • If you develop symptoms get a test and stay home.

If you:

Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago and are not boosted
OR completed the primary series of J&J over 2 months ago and are not boosted OR are unvaccinated:

  • Stay home for 5 days and wear a mask around others.
  • If no symptoms are experienced during the five days, you can end isolation after day 5 while continuing to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
  • Test on day 5 if possible.
  • If you develop symptoms get a test and stay home

For more information, please go here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html#closecontact.

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