COVID-19 in Idaho briefing March 15 at. 14.30
COVID-19 in Idaho briefing March 15 at.  14.30

COVID-19 in Idaho briefing March 15 at. 14.30

Idaho health officials are holding a media briefing Tuesday afternoon.

BOISE, Idaho – It is now two years since Idaho’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported. In subsequent months, the state has reported more than 439,000 total confirmed and probable cases and 4,819 coronavirus deaths, which researchers have dubbed SARS-CoV-2. Three waves brought 1,000 or more new cases every day in late 2020 / early 2021, late summer / early fall 2021 and winter 2021-22.

The latest wave, driven by the Omicron variant, peaked in mid-January and has been declining ever since. The 14-day average of new daily cases hit a record high of 2768.86 on January 31st. Pr. On March 14, it dropped to 933.14 new daily cases. Also, the COVID-19 test positivity has dropped to below 5%, which is what health officials in Idaho see as an indicator that the virus is unlikely to continue to infect many people.

In response to the drop and new guidelines from the CDC, some Idaho cities and school districts where mask requirements and other COVID-19 precautions, such as size limits collection, were in place have recently removed those requirements.

Recent case trends suggest that Idaho’s COVID-19 situation is heading in the right direction, but there are still questions. The big one: Is the end of the pandemic finally in sight? The cases are again rising in China, in an outbreak associated with what is being called a rapidly spreading “stealth-Omicron” variant. Will that variant or another variant lead to yet another COVID wave in Idaho? Will the current vaccines be effective against future variants? If you are already fully vaccinated and have been given a booster, then do you need another one? What is the latest information on the long-term effects and treatments for people who have become infected and become ill with COVID-19?

The answers may not be simple, and we have seen them change over time and research. Get the view from Idaho’s public health officials Tuesday afternoon when the Department of Health and Welfare holds a media briefing on COVID-19 in Idaho. It’s scheduled for 14:30 Mountain Time (1:30 pm Pacific). It will stream live in this story on KTVB.COM and on KTVB YouTube channel.

Speaker during the briefing will be IDHW Director Dave Jeppesen; Elke Shaw-Tulloch, Administrator of the Department of Public Health; Dr. Christine Hahn, state epidemiologist; Dr. Kathryn Turner, Deputy State Epidemiologist, Dr. Christopher Ball, head of the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories; and Sarah Leeds, head of the Idaho Immunization Program.

After their introductory remarks, officials will answer questions from journalists.

This story will be updated after the briefing.

At KTVB, we focus our news coverage on facts and not the fear surrounding the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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