Though case numbers are well below their peak from last winter, COVID-19 cases are again rising in Idaho.
After declining relatively steadily since mid-March, case numbers have nearly tripled in less than two weeks, rising from a seven-day moving average of less than 50 new cases per day on July 5 to an average of more than 146 new cases per day as of Friday.
The positivity rate for COVID-19 tests has also gone from 2.8% for the week of June 13-19 to 4.3% for the week of July 4-10.
The rise coincides with a nationwide uptick in cases, which health officials have partly attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant, which now accounts for the majority of cases across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Health and Human Services Region 10, which includes Idaho, Alaska, Oregon and Washington, the Delta variant accounted for an estimated 43% of cases over the two weeks ending July 3, according to the CDC.
Though cases are rising, data shows that the vast majority of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are occurring in Idahoans who have not been fully vaccinated, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
From Jan. 1 through July 3, 99.1% of new cases had no record of being fully vaccinated, and 98.7% of new COVID-19 hospitalizations had no record of being fully vaccinated.
The state added 10 new deaths this week, pushing the total death tally to 2,173 since the start of the pandemic.
“The facts are clear,” Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen wrote in a blog post July 9. “The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. … Getting the vaccine is a choice, but it is a choice that protects your families and fellow residents.”
Meanwhile, some state officials are attempting to prohibit private hospitals from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees.
Vaccination rates in the state remain well below the national average. Just over 45% of Idahoans age 12 or older have been fully vaccinated, compared to nearly 57% of Americans over 12 nationwide.
For the week beginning July 12, the state added 1,025 new COVID-19 cases. As of July 14, there were 123 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Idaho, including 40 in intensive care.