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IDAHO FALLS — Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center has seen a major increase in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations recently, and national data shows the Rexburg-area is experiencing one of the largest outbreaks in the country.
In a 24-hour period between Thursday and Friday, the number of COVID-19 patients rose from 19 to 31, according to hospital data collected by EastIdahoNews.com. Now four days later, that number has stayed high with 29 patients currently being treated for the novel coronavirus. Thankfully only six COVID-19 patients are in intensive care at EIRMC.
Idaho Falls Community Hospital, Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg and Bingham Memorial Hospital in Blackfoot also saw increases. In total, the region’s biggest hospitals (excluding Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello) have gone from 35 hospitalizations to 53. Hospital administrators say COVID-19 is increasingly straining the resources of area hospitals.
The jump is the most recent indicator of how quickly COVID-19 is spreading in eastern Idaho.
It’s not the only indicator though.
On Monday, the New York Times, reported the Rexburg metropolitan area currently has the second greatest COVID-19 outbreak in the entire country. That means that over the last two weeks, they’ve seen the greatest number of new cases relative to their population. In this case 742 new cases for a population of 53,006.
Local data supports this. Eastern Idaho Public Health shows Madison County now routinely exceeds Bonneville County in the number of new cases. Madison currently has 266 active cases compared to 235 active cases in Bonneville. Last week, due to the increasing number of cases, Brigham Young University-Idaho warned it may have to close down again to slow the spread of the virus. One silver lining in Madison is their hospitalization rate is low, due to most of the active cases being among younger college-aged adults.
Another indicator of continued spread is the death rate, which continues to climb, albeit at a much slower pace. Two new COVID-19 deaths were reported Tuesday — one in Caribou County, and one in Bonneville County. That brings the total number of deaths in eastern Idaho to 49. With one exception, all of the eastern Idaho deaths have been of individuals older than 50. COVID-19 has an extremely high recovery rate, and most people recover from the virus at home with no problems. However, the elderly and the immunocompromised are more susceptible to catching the virus, experiencing more severe symptoms and dying from the virus.
Statewide, there have been 492 deaths.
The best news continues to be the COVID-19 recovery rate. A total of 7,914 people have recovered from the virus in eastern Idaho and some 23,288 have recovered statewide.
For a closer look at the numbers visit the EastIdahoNews.com COVID-19 page.
The EIPH meets regularly about COVID-19. These meetings include updates from health officials, hospitals, and local leaders. Watch the latest meeting here.
EIPH also has a COVID-19 call center to answer questions. Call (208) 522-0310 or toll-free at 855-533-3160. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In addition, questions can be submitted via email to COVIDQuestions@eiph.idaho.gov or asked through our Facebook page at @EIPH.Idaho.