COVID cases rise in Idaho

By Reader Staff

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its COVID-19 guidance on July 27, now recommending that people in counties with “substantial and high transmission rates” of the novel coronavirus wear face coverings in public indoor settings — even if they are fully vaccinated against the disease.

According to the CDC’s map as of July 28, Bonner and Boundary counties remain in the “moderate” risk category for transmission — just below “substantial.” Meanwhile, Shoshone and Kootenai counties are showing “high” rates of COVID-19 spread.

Epidemiologists are crediting this new national surge in cases to the very contagious delta variant of the virus.

“This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in a July 27 media briefing.

Idaho Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen shared in a recent media briefing that Idaho’s COVID data is “headed the wrong direction,” noting that case rates, positive tests and hospitalizations are all on the rise. However, Jeppesen noted, “the vast, vast majority of people coming down with COVID-19 or being admitted to the hospital during COVID-19 are unvaccinated,” he said. 

“This has really become a pandemic for those that are unvaccinated,” he continued.

As of July 28, 49.6% of Idahoans ages 12 and up are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19. Nationally, that number is closer to 67%.

As for total confirmed and probable cases, 199,516 Idahoans have experienced the virus since tracking began in March 2020 — 3,458 of those being Bonner County residents. Idaho reported 358 new cases of COVID-19 on July 28. To date, 2,190 Idahoans have died due to COVID-19 complications.

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