Idaho to reduce some COVID data reports as trends improve
About two years after Idaho detected the first case of COVID-19, the state health department is reducing some of its efforts to share disease data with the public.
The test positivity rate in Idaho is below 4% — as low as it has been since last June. That, along with other improving pandemic trends, has Idaho health officials feeling “cautiously optimistic.”
The Idaho Department of Health and Wellness made this known Tuesday at the last regular COVID press conference. The state will also change the data available on the COVID-19 dashboard, he announced.
You may notice a change to the home page of the COVID-19 Data Dashboard, starting today. The cumulative case count map by county has been replaced with a map showing Idaho’s COVID-19 community levels by county. A detailed explanation of the change can be found below the map: https://t.co/rfk8Ajer9e
— ECS (@IDHW) March 14, 2022
More home testing and fewer case investigations mean the state’s daily case count carries less weight. More emphasis will be placed on hospital capacity, as well as community-wide wastewater monitoring trends.
According to Dr. Christopher Ball, chief of the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories, several of these wastewater data points will soon be incorporated into the national dashboard run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The ministry has not shared exactly how publicly available information will change, or when. Health officials have said any change could intensify again if COVID-19 trends point in the opposite direction. They think Idaho will likely see future waves of increased COVID-19 infections.
“We want to make sure people don’t say, ‘But you said it was over!’ Because we’re not saying it’s over,” Dr. Christine Hahn, the state epidemiologist, said Tuesday.
Still, she remains hopeful.
“Like last year, we see things going in the right direction. We have more reason to hope even than last year that it could be more sustainable due to higher immunity at the population level. , and maybe better tools to respond,” Hahn said.
Find journalist Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen
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