POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - As more and more Idahoans test positive for the coronavirus, the possibility of districts choosing to move back a stage in reopening becomes more likely.
In southeast Idaho, cases are quickly climbing, said the Southeastern Idaho Public Health district director Maggie Mann.
The week of June 27, SIPH reported 29 cases. The following week of July 4, they reported 59 cases. And the week of July 11, 78 cases.
“So that’s a pretty big jump you can see over those three weeks. So we’re hoping we can kind of level off at that amount and not continue the trend line that we’re on right now,” Mann said.
As of Monday's count (Tuesday's will be released at the end of the work day), District 6 had a total of 329 cases with one person currently hospitalized from the virus.
The numbers of positive cases are important to track, but Mann said what's telling is a little more complicated.
“So what’s probably of more concern is the percent of tests that are coming back positive are going up statewide,” Mann said.
In mid-June, the percentage of tests that came back positive was below 5%. Tuesday morning, the percentage of positive tests climbed to 15.9% Mann said.
“As that percent goes up, that’s a red flag that we’re having a high degree of spread in our communities,” Mann said.
It can also mean that we’re testing the right people, which is a good thing, Mann said. But ideally, she said the percent of positive cases should be around the 5% it once was.
Ada County is still in stage 3 of the reopening plan, while southeast Idaho remains in stage 4. Officials are determining what conditions would cause SIPH to rollback reopening.
“We’re in the process right now with our Board of Health and other community elected officials and healthcare leaders, looking at what the measures are going to be that might trigger some kind of change,” Mann said.
Mann said SIPH is working closely with the Eastern Idaho Public Health district on this because of the amount of travel between the districts.