Monday, September 28, 2020
Blaine County’s COVID Risk Rated Minimal
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Phyllis “Bunker” Frank wears a face mask while attending a Torah study in the woods north of Ketchum.
   
Friday, August 14, 2020
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Blaine and Camas counties scored well in the inaugural Risk Assessment released by South Central Public Health District on Thursday.

Both counties are in the minimal-risk category, according to COVID-19 community risk assessments approved by the SCPHD Board of Health.

Four other counties in the district—Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln and Twin Falls—are in the moderate-risk category. Cassia and Minidoka are in the high-risk category. No counties are currently deemed at critical risk.

South Central Public Health District released the inaugural Risk Assessment Thursday afternoon at https://www.phd5.idaho.gov/CoronaVirus/#Risk_Levels. It is coupled with recommended mitigation strategies based on level of risk and basic metric information for each county.

The risk assessments will be updated every other Thursday unless emergency conditions laid out in the district’s Regional Risk Level Plan require more frequent updates.

The risk assessment can be used by school districts to determine whether students can be permitted to attend classes in person, and it can be used to help government leaders and businesses understand risk levels, said Brianna Bodily, public information officer for South Central District Health. It can also be used by others to determine risk mitigation for various other activities.

“We all have a part to play in protecting the most vulnerable in our communities and these risk levels can help us each make responsible decisions to protect against this disease,” said Linda Montgomery, Board of Health chair.

The Risk Assessment indicates that Blaine County has 16 confirmed cases being monitored at this time, while Twin Falls has 452 confirmed cases and 19 probable cases being monitored. Blaine County is no longer monitoring 563 of its 579 total confirmed and probable cases.

Blaine County is considered a minimal risk because its new daily cases are less than 1 per 10,000 population on a seven-day rolling average with 0.43 average new cases per 10,000 residents. The percentage of people testing positive of those being tested is less than 5 percent, compared with the district positivity rate of 12.09 percent. And hospital capacity is normal.

The bulk of new cases are among those between the ages of 18 and 29 and 50 and 59, with a noticeable rate also among those ages 30 through 29.

While Blaine County is considered minimal risk now, health officials urge all residents to be fastidious in practicing social distancing at all times, wearing a mask in public places, washing hands frequently, sanitizing commonly touched surfaces and isolating immediately if they begin showing symptoms of any virus.

“Mitigation strategies aren’t just for board members—they’re for everyone in our counties to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Melody Bowyer, who heads up the SCPHD.

To learn more, call the COVID-19 information hotline at 208-737-1138 for English translation and 208-737-565 for Spanish.

THE COUNT

Idaho gained 498 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday for a total of 26,631. The state lost five more of its citizens to the virus and now has 251 deaths all told.

Blaine County reported four new cases on Thursday for a total of 582.

 

 

 

 

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