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Increasing COVID-19 Cases, Delta Variants In Idaho

A hand holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine between the thumb and index finger. Other vials with red caps can be seen beneath it in a bin.
AP Images

COVID-19 cases are on the rise again and states with vaccination rates similar to Idaho’s have started to see real surges.

Idaho’s seven-day moving average jumped from about 70 cases per day in late June to roughly 145 by mid-July. Nationwide, about 57% of eligible people are vaccinated. In Idaho, that number drops to 45%.

"The vaccines work," said Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch at Tuesday's Idaho Department of Health and Welfare meeting. "And the people who are getting sick from COVID-19 are people who have not been fully vaccinated.”

She said as the school year approaches, getting vaccinated is critical in ensuring in-person learning this fall.

And low vaccination rates aren’t the only cause for concern. State epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn said while the majority of cases in the latest batch of sequencing were the UK variant, 26 cases of the Delta variant were detected — and there are likely more.

“We are hoping that Idahoans understand this as a warning that we do have Delta here, we do have the numbers increasing," said Hahn.

Right now, there’s only a small percentage of positive specimens being sequenced per week. As specimen sequencing grows, Hahn suspects cases of the variant will as well.