NAMPA, Idaho (KLIX)-The governor and state health officials are worried COVID-19 case counts could increase this fall and exceed last year's peak daily counts if more Idahoans don't get vaccinated. "We want kids back in school," said Gov. Brad Little during a press conference at Nampa High School stressing more Idahoans should get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Gov. Little said the highly contagious Delta variant changed projections and said the vaccines help slow the spread of the virus. He said there is a large enough inventory of the vaccine available to people.

“Idaho students are headed back to their classrooms starting next week. As I’ve stated from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our students need to be able to learn in their classrooms with their teachers and peers. Our main defense in ensuring the new school year is entirely in-person – free from outbreaks and quarantines – is the COVID-19 vaccine,” Governor Little said. Any child ages 12 to 17 can get the vaccine. State health officials say a little more than half of Idaho's population has been vaccinated, most older than 65.

One of the concerns of the governor and state health officials is some hospitals are beginning to hit patient capacity with people in sick with COVID-19. State statistics, provided by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, show the majority of hospitalizations-98.6 percent since Jan 1, 20201-were not vaccinated. Some health care providers, including St. Luke's Health System, said they have or will start limiting some services to help keep beds free for the influx of COVID-19 patients.

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