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Three Magic Valley counties headed toward ‘critical risk’ level

SCPHD also says the regional hospital status is critical, as staffing and bed availability has been severely impacted by the coronavirus.
Published: Oct. 17, 2020 at 2:10 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - COVID-19 case rates in Idaho continue to climb, especially in three Magic Valley counties.

South Central Public Health says Minidoka, Cassia and Twin Falls counties are all heading for the critical risk level.

SCPHD also says the regional hospital status is critical, as staffing and bed availability has been severely impacted by the coronavirus.

The health district says the case trend, and the impact the virus is having on the healthcare system is alarming, and the positivity rates continue to rise, and if it continues, the area will likely reach critical risk level by next Thursday, explains SCPHD public information officer Brianna Bodily.

“The combination of three of those different metrics are leading us to right on the edge of our critical risk tier," Bodily said. “Our next assessment is next Thursday, which is why when we met Thursday, to discuss and look at the data, to have an idea of where all of our counties are, we noticed that Minidoka, Twin Falls and Cassia are headed toward that critical risk category. That’s when we knew that it was very important that we warn everybody.”

Dr. Richard Augustus, the chief medical officer at West Valley Medical Center, is reminding people to continue to wear masks, social distance, wash and sanitize hands and surfaces, and to stay strong.

“We’re getting a long ways into this infection; people are getting sick of hearing about it; we’re getting tired of social distancing,” Augustus said. “This event is analogous to a marathon, not a sprint. We’re nowhere near the finish line at this point. We have to redouble our efforts.”

Currently, about 40% of cases in Idaho are in patients between 18 to 39, while the majority of deaths are in elderly patients.

And in the Wood River Valley, Blaine County has labeled themselves in the high risk category, and has a positivity rate of more than 15%.

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