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Health Officials Thank Community
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Members of Colla Voce sang a half-hour’s worth of socially distanced Christmas carols for those in the parking lot of Sun Valley’s Atelier condos Sunday. “Amazing how wonderful they sounded, given the poor acoustics of out of doors, in addition to wearing masks! It was indeed a bright spot,” said Rae DeVito. PHOTO: Rae DeVito
 
 
Friday, December 25, 2020
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTO BY RAE DEVITO

COVID GRAPH BY PAUL RIES

Representatives of St. Luke’s Health System, South Central Public Health District and hospitals in the Magic Valley have joined together to thank residents for helping to slow the spread of coronavirus in the area, alleviating some of the pressure on hospitals.

Case rates are still high compared to summer and spring but they have declined across most of the district.

The district had a high of 1,415 reported COVID cases the week of Nov. 1 followed by 1,366 and 1,364 cases the weeks of Nov. 8 and 15. This past week it had 550 new cases. That compares with 186 the week of Aug. 30.

Hospitals are also reporting fewer number of patients with COVID over the last two weeks and fewer staff members forced to stay home after exposure to the virus.

“It’s great to see our case numbers trending downward. Let’s keep it up!” said Josh Jensen, SCPHD Program Manager. “The first three weeks in December had more than three times the number of cases in September and earlier months.  Obviously, we aren’t out of the woods yet but this shows that working together we can slow the spread of this disease and protect lives.”

 

It's fortuitous that the COVID caseload is down because accidents, holiday stress and winter conditions around the holidays often put undue strain on emergency rooms. Consequently, it’s important to keep beds open and hospital staff available to handle holiday patient needs by wearing masks, keeping one’s distance and washing our hands, said Brianna Bodily, public information officer for the South Central Public Health District.

“This holiday season the best gift you can give to your loved ones and healthcare workers is to stay healthy,” she said.

BLAINE COUNTY IMPROVES

Blaine County had a couple of its best days in nearly a month the past few days with a day with no new cases and a day with only five. But it still is in the Critical red zone according to the COVID Risk Assessment formulated by the Harvard Global Institute.

The county averaged 34.8 new cases per 100,000 residents during the week of Dec. 13 through 19, down from 57.1 new cases the week before. But its test positivity rate climbed to 12.19 percent, showing that more than 12 percent of those being tested for COVID were positive compared with 9.3 percent the week before. Doctors like to see that number under 5 percent.

Thirteen people ages 50 to 59 tested positive during that week and 12 between the ages of 18 and 29. Nine people 70 and older tested positive, followed by eight between the ages of 40 and 49, six between 60 and 69, three between 30 and 39, two between 14 and 17, two between 5 and 10 and 1 between 0 and 4. There were no new cases among those ages 11 through 13.

The local hospital does have some elbow room right now, but hospitals in Twin Falls and Boise are operating at high capacity.

 

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