Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

“COVID fatigue” is in part why Teton County is seeing a spike in cases, according to public health coordinator Rachael Wheeler. On Saturday, the county tied its record for most cases in a single day, with 17.

That’s likely in part because people have grown frustrated with the restrictions. Or maybe they’ve become a bit laissez-faire and are comfortable hanging out with their friends; maybe they don’t wear masks or social distance enough.

“When you hang out with people you know, you get a little more relaxed on things, and you’re more likely to get it from someone you know than a stranger,” Wheeler said.

Two factors that have been seen in recent case increases around the country — Labor Day and school reopenings — haven’t had much of an impact locally. Teton County Health Department contact tracers aren’t finding a huge correlation between cases and Labor Day festivities, even though the spike started within the two-week incubation period following the holiday.

As for schools, just nine cases have been reported in students and teachers, forcing quarantines within Teton County School District No. 1, communications director Charlotte Reynolds said. No cases have originated in the school so far, she said, a fact Wheeler confirmed.

“There seems to be no pattern,” Wheeler said of the recent cases.

As of Monday evening, Teton County had 53 active cases, a significant bump from earlier this month, and 121 people are under quarantine orders. For the first time in weeks, the Harvard Global Health Institute has rated the county as being in the “red zone,” meaning it has a 7-day rolling average of new daily cases above 25 per 100,000 people.

As summer starts to end, people will move inside for social gatherings, which can increase the risk of transmission if precautions aren’t taken. With that on the horizon and the beginning of flu and cold season just around the corner, Wheeler had some pretty standard advice for people.

“We’re just encouraging people that if they’re symptomatic, whether it’s the flu or this or that, stay home, Wheeler said. “Don’t go to events, just stay home.”

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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