Idaho COVID-19 stats ‘headed in a better direction’

By Reader Staff

Idaho health officials shared in a press briefing Oct. 19 that while hospitalizations and deaths due to the novel coronavirus remain high across the state, recent data may reveal that the current peak in virus activity could be headed for the downslope.

“For the first time since July, things are headed in a better direction,” said Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen, according to reporting by the AP. “It also means that we are not out of the woods yet.”

Though case counts are flattening, Elke Shaw-Tulloch, administrator for the Idaho Division of Public Health, told the Idaho Statesman: “While people in the hospital with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or in the ICU with confirmed COVID-19 are on the decline, the number of people in the hospital is vastly greater than it was during the winter 2020 peak.”

State health officials are continuing to encourage Idahoans to seek vaccination against the virus. According to the Statesman, 86% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths since May 2021 have been among the unvaccinated population. As of Oct. 20, about 54% of those 12 and older in Idaho are completely vaccinated, while the national average sits closer to 67%. In Bonner County, that number is about 46%.

What’s more, the Idaho Capital Sun reported that since Idaho hospitals declared crisis standards of care in early September (meaning that limited resources are reserved for the most dire medical emergencies), vaccine uptake has fallen 56%, from an average of 1,835 to 814 first doses administered per day.

Idaho’s Department of Behavioral Health is conducting a survey regarding Idahoans’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Idaho Capital Sun, the survey “asks questions about mental health, financial instability, vaccination status, social changes and other pandemic-related issues.” 

“The pandemic has shifted many aspects of our lives over the past year and a half,” stated Division of Behavioral Health bureau chief Danielle Pere in a media release. “We want to know more about how it has affected Idahoans so we can help fill gaps and respond more effectively as the pandemic continues.”

Access the survey, which is open through Oct. 31, at 

To stay up-to-date on the most recent vaccination and COVID-19 case data in Idaho, visit

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