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December 2, 2021

Idaho’s COVID breakthrough cases make up 1.75% of vaccinated

As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 1,244 new cases and 23 new deaths on Wednesday.

A portion of those cases can be attributed to a backlog the state is working to clear from the most recent two-week period. The backlog stood at 1,000 cases Tuesday but was reduced to 650 as of Wednesday.

The most recent hospitalization data from Health and Welfare shows 453 patients needing inpatient care as of Monday, which is down significantly from a peak of 793 patients on Sept. 24.

St. Luke’s Health System, which tracks hospitalization data along with vaccination status, is currently caring for 91 COVID-19 patients in its hospitals, 82.42% of whom are unvaccinated. Of the 26 ICU COVID-19 patients, 92.31% are not vaccinated.

Health and Welfare says some COVID-19 infections in vaccinated people — known as a breakthrough case — can be expected. However, that figure is very low. As of Wednesday, there were 834,490 Idahoans who are fully vaccinated. Of those, 14,619 have experienced a breakthrough case, which accounts for 1.75% of Idaho’s fully vaccinated population.

“No vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing illness, and that includes the COVID-19 vaccines,” Health and Welfare wrote in a recent blog post. “The vaccines are working. They are especially effective against hospitalization and death, and they greatly reduce your chances of getting COVID-19 in the first place. If you do have a breakthrough case, it further reduces the likelihood that you will be sick enough to have to go to the hospital or die.”

Four counties reported 100 or more new cases on Wednesday: Ada (428 new), Bonneville (111), Canyon (105) and Kootenai (179). The latest deaths were added in Ada (2 new), Benewah (1), Bingham (2), Bonner (3), Canyon (4), Elmore (1), Gem (1), Jefferson (1), Jerome (1), Kootenai (2), Minidoka (1), Shoshone (1), Twin Falls (2) and Valley (1) counties.

According to updated demographics from Health and Welfare, the deaths included nine individuals 80 or older, nine in their 70s, three in their 60s and two in their 50s.

Idaho has lost 3,600 residents to the virus, with a case fatality rate of about 1.22%.

To date, Idaho has administered 1,684,057 doses of the vaccines, with 55.3% of Idahoans age 12 and older being fully vaccinated. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted unanimously to recommend Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. Both Walgreens and CVS appointments are available as early as Saturday.

For a county-by-county breakdown of Wednesday’s new cases and deaths, see our “What we know file” at IdahoStatesman.com.

This story was originally published November 3, 2021 6:54 PM.

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