Idaho moves to Stage 4; stressing the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Published: May. 11, 2021 at 5:29 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — At the Department of Health and Welfare meeting Tuesday afternoon, officials announced Idaho will be moving to Stage 4, effective immediately.

“I’m pleased to share that today, idaho is moving to stage 4,” said Dave Jeppesen, the director for the Department of Health and Welfare.

For the last 4 weeks, the amount of people who were testing positive for COVID-19 remained below 5% throughout the state.

Since February 2, Idaho has been in Stage 3, keeping gatherings limited to 50 people or less, as well as other guidelines in place.

“The major change to stage 4 is that gatherings of any size can be held,” said Jeppesen. “Stage 4 will continue to have recommendations and safety protocols for gatherings as well as recommendations for employers.”

While this is a big step for the state, officials stress the importance of remaining vigilant and getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently, more than 623,000 Idahoans have had at least one dose.

While that number is good, officials are wondering why some people have chosen to not get the vaccine.

“What is it that those folks are waiting for, is it time and additional safety data, is it waiting to see how they’re friends are reacting to the vaccine?” said Sarah Leeds, the immunization program manager for the Department of Health and Welfare.

If the number of positive COVID-19 cases rises again, there is a possibility of further action being taken.

“I think 83% of hospitals are operating as normal, and there is no hospital in the state that has any type of a resource limitation, that is going on, so we feel very good about our hospital capacity right now, but that is going to be the real well-whether of whether we need to take action down the road, if our hospital capacity is strained or at risk,” said Jeppesen.

On Monday, the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children age 12 to 15 by the FDA, but it still needs to be approved by the CDC.

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