Another week, another grim Idaho coronavirus milestone.
For the first time in the seven-month outbreak, new weekly cases eclipsed the 5,000 mark.
On Friday afternoon, the state and its seven health districts reported 57,909 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases. That’s an 11 percent increase from last week, and the third successive week of record cases.
Other weekly numbers trended poorly as well.
Deaths were up from the previous week. So were hospitalizations and ICU visits. And as the state set new highs for cases, the number of Idahoans tested for coronavirus decreased slightly.
All of these trends come as schools across the state wrestle with reopening. And at the same time, health districts in North Idaho and the Magic Valley rejected or rescinded mask requirements, despite rising local hospitalization rates.
In other coronavirus headlines from the week:
Back to school in West Ada. The state’s largest school district reopened Wednesday, after a two-day teacher sickout ended. West Ada will operate on a hybrid schedule, with its 38,000 students attending school on alternate days.
State guidelines get a rewrite. The State Board of Education tweaked its nonbinding K-12 reopening guidelines Wednesday. The change is designed to allow schools to continue some face-to-face instruction even when counties are in the “red” high-risk category for coronavirus transmission. The plan is modeled after Ada County, where Boise and West Ada schools are operating on a blended calendar while the county remains in the “red” designation.
Higher education enrollment. The pandemic is affecting higher education enrollment, and some details came into focus this week. Boise State University, the University of Idaho and Idaho State University all are reporting decreases — but not the devastating 20 percent drop-offs predicted in national modeling — and Lewis-Clark State College saw an increase. One big wild card: the number of high school students signing up for dual-credit college courses.
K-12 cases appear to inch upward. The Department of Health and Welfare Friday reported at least 96 cases in K-12 schools for the week. Last week’s minimum was 94. Post Falls High School reported seven new cases, the most of any school in the state. Tyhee Elementary School in Pocatello reported five cases.
This week’s numbers (and comparisons with last week):
|Statewide data||Oct. 16||Oct. 23||Change, Oct. 10-16||Change, Oct. 17-23|
|Cases, confirmed and probable||52,250||57,909||4,752||5,659|
|Total cases, ages 0-4||875||936||57||61|
|Total cases, ages 5-12||1,705||1,887||162||182|
|Total cases, ages 13-17||2,804||3,187||247||383|
|Total cases, ages 18-29||14,856||16,404||1,366||1,548|
|Weekly cases, K-12 schools (minimum)||94||96||-9||+2|
|Estimated, patients recovered||25,457||27,509||1,576||2,052|
|Health care workers infected||3,349||3,626||179||277|
|Positive test rate (based on all cases divided by testing numbers, as reported by the state)||15.0 percent||15.8 percent||+0.6 percentage points||+0.8 percentage points|
|Top five counties, by total cases||Oct. 16||Oct. 23||New cases, Oct. 17-23||New cases per day, per 100,000 population|
|Hotspot counties (weekly increase of 10 percent or higher)||Oct. 16||Oct. 23||New cases, Oct. 17-23||New cases per day, per 100,000 population|