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.

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Teton County’s low COVID-19 numbers have some officials beaming.

During Friday’s community update, Teton County District Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell took his time rolling out the numbers so the audience could marvel at the metrics.

“I’m going to kind of treat them like a new car off the lot and take them around the block real slow and show them off a little bit for everyone here,” Riddell said.

During the two-week period from Feb. 5-18, the county saw a 59% decrease in new cases compared to the previous two-week period, he said. The rolling seven-day average, as of Friday, was 6.6 cases per day, down 82% from a peak on Jan. 17. That drop marks the first time the community has averaged less than 10 new cases a day since the end of October, he said.

Riddell reported 21 cases in the school-aged population, ages 5 to 18, during the past two weeks. In contrast, during that same time the county saw zero cases in people ages 75 and up. Riddell noted that individuals ages 75 and up are receiving second doses of their COVID-19 vaccines.

“So despite not quite having full vaccination, we’re seeing good numbers in that category,” he said.

Dr. Paul Beaupre, the medical director of COVID response for St. John's Health, also gushed with good news.

“I wish I could convey to you the exuberance of the hospital staff on Wednesday when our covid patient census fell to zero for the first time since late summer,” he wrote in a hospital email update.

But he also struck a note of caution: “The continued risk of transmission is significant as more variants emerge that spread more easily.”

The Teton County Department of Health is cautioning people, including those who have received both vaccine doses, to continue wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart from others, washing hands and staying home when sick.

“We will need to continue these measures until a bigger percentage of our community is vaccinated, and we have reached herd immunity for COVID-19,” the Health Department said Monday in a news release.

Contact Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington at 732-7078 or rebecca@jhnewsandguide.com.

Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington has worked for newspapers across the West. She hosts a rescue podcast, The Fine Line. Her family minivan doubles as her not-so-high-tech recording studio.

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