Orofino,Idaho-Window on the Clearwater
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COVID-19 cases spiking up in county, region

Cases of COVID-19 cases in Clearwater County and the North Central region of Idaho have been spiking up over the last 1 1/2 weeks.

Clearwater County had been recording one or two cases per day prior to the recent spike. Since July 27 (nine days), there have been an additional 29 cases reported by Public Health Idaho-North Central District (PH-INCD). The majority have been since Monday when cases went to 7, Tuesday another 4, Wednesday 9. That brings the total cases in the county to 1,092 with 14 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

According to (PH-INCD) there have been an additional 283 cases in the region during that same nine day period.

Tara Macke, PH-INCD said, "We are in a very similar place to where we were last summer, with cases on a sharp rise.

"We live in an area with low vaccination rates during the time of year when lots of people travel and come together for a multitude of reasons. Considering that the previous year felt constrictive to our personal lives, we have all been looking forward to Summer. This 'time of freedom and relaxation' has been very powerful and has been enjoyed by almost everyone. Unfortunately, these activities that we continue to enjoy often involve larger groups than have been seen in the last year and are occurring when fewer people are wearing masks and taking social distancing precautions as they gather. Large outdoor gatherings as well as indoors to eat, drink, celebrate and socialize will lend to the spread of any infectious illness, and that is what we are seeing with the increased COVID-19 cases. Some of these events are community events with large numbers, but some are just gatherings of family and can vary in size. All of these coupled with the possibility of one or more COVID-19 variants can explain the increase in the number of cases we are reporting.

"As of yet, the Delta variant has not been confirmed by any known genetic sequencing performed from a patient specimen. However, it is the view of the State Epidemiologist and PH-INCD, that due to the wide spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant across the nation; it is likely that it would be present in our communities even if not detected. PH-INCD would encourage residents to follow the latest CDC recommendations for their safety as well as the safety of our communities. It is the hope that with increased vaccinations and established prevention measures, the spread of the Delta variant and others will be halted or slowed.

"This is again a good reminder to:

  • Get vaccinated, it is still your best tool to avoid becoming critically ill from COVID-19.
  • Stay home when you are ill.
  • Avoid others that are ill.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid gathering where social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Wear a face covering in high risk situations where you are in a large group and cannot maintain social distancing, especially indoors.

"Getting fully vaccinated still offers incredible levels of protection against the Delta variant. With our low vaccination rate, a majority of our population is left completely vulnerable to catching COVID and knowing that the Delta variant has a higher transmissibility the likelihood of us having more cases, if people do not get vaccinated is expected."

When asked whether genetic sequencing is being done with positive COVID-19 tests in this region, Tara Macke, PH-INCD said, "Yes. The Idaho Bureau of Labs is communicating with area labs about submission of samples for sequencing. If the PCR samples meet the criteria for genetic sequencing, they are sent to the Idaho Bureau of Labs for further testing."

A briefing was held Tuesday to update the situation in Idaho in relation to the situation in the state. It can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g51-7vPPPhY.

The graphic below was used during the briefing to show the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant.

Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: (208) 476-0733
Fax: (208) 476-4140