This week’s coronavirus trendline (10.30.20 edition)

This isn’t a good combination.

For the fourth consecutive week, Idaho’s coronavirus case numbers increased at record levels.

Meanwhile, Idaho recorded its deadliest week in the pandemic.

As of Friday afternoon, the state and its health districts reported 64,008 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases. It’s an increase of 6,099 cases, or 10.5 percent, from last week.

A spike in case numbers could eventually lead to increased hospitalizations and fatalities — and Idaho’s death rate is already climbing. This week’s record 64 COVID-19 fatalities leaves the state’s death toll at 626.

New hospital and ICU admissions were down from the previous week.

In other coronavirus headlines from the week:

Stage 3, again. Responding to rising case numbers, and increased pressure on the state’s health care system, Gov. Brad Little Monday moved the state back to the third stage of Idaho’s four-step reopening plan. The move doesn’t affect schools. The reaction to the move was lukewarm at best.

Reading scores drop … The state released its first major education data set of the fall semester, and not surprisingly, the numbers were down from 2019. Scores on the Idaho Reading Indicator hit a six-year low. All told, slightly less than half of the state’s kindergarten through third-grade students scored at grade level.

… and enrollment drops as well. For the first time since 1997, enrollment in traditional K-12 schools is down. The sharpest decline occurred at the kindergarten level, where enrollment fell by more than 1,100 students. The overall dropoff of more than 4,500 students correlates with increased enrollment in online charter schools.

K-12 cases skyrocket. The Department of Health and Welfare linked at least 199 new coronavirus cases to K-12 schools this week. That more than doubles last week’s minimum of 96 — and is by far the most cases Health and Welfare has reported since launching the weekly count on Oct. 2. Hotspots included Post Falls High School (11 cases), Hillcrest High School in Ammon (10 cases); Lewiston High School (eight cases); Boise’s Timberline High School (eight cases); and Sandcreek Middle School in Ammon (eight cases).

A glimmer of hope? New case numbers on the state’s three university campuses dropped this week. Boise State University posted its lowest case numbers in seven weeks, and the University of Idaho posted its lowest numbers in six weeks. “They’re proving that we can do this,” Little said Tuesday of the improved campus numbers. (For a closer look, check back Monday morning for our weekly campus roundup.)

This week’s numbers (and comparisons with last week):

Statewide data Oct. 23 Oct. 30 Change, Oct. 17-23 Change, Oct. 24-30
Cases, confirmed and probable 57,909 64,008 5,659 6,099
Total cases, ages 0-4 936 1,028 61 92
Total cases, ages 5-12 1,887 2,123 182 236
Total cases, ages 13-17 3,187 3,529 383 342
Total cases, ages 18-29 16,404 17,839 1,548 1,435
Weekly cases, K-12 schools (minimum) 96 199 +2 +103
Deaths 562 626 39 64
Hospital admissions, total 2,387 2,572 213 185
ICU admissions, total 527 549 32 22
Estimated, patients recovered 27,509 29,556 2,052 2,047
Idahoans tested 366,047 383,914 17,529 17,867
Health care workers infected 3,626 3,918 277 292
Positive test rate (based on all cases divided by testing numbers, as reported by the state) 15.8 percent 16.7 percent +0.8 percentage points +0.9 percentage points

 

Top five counties, by total cases Oct. 23 Oct. 30 New cases, Oct. 24-30 New cases per day, per 100,000 population
Ada 15,976 17,124 1,148 34.1
Canyon 9,661 10,297 636 39.5
Bonneville 4,210 4,665 455 54.6
Kootenai 3,801 4,386 585 50.4
Twin Falls 3,734 4,273 539 88.6

 

Hotspot counties (weekly increase of 10 percent or higher) Oct. 23 Oct. 30 New cases, Oct. 24-30 New cases per day, per 100,000 population
Adams 39 65 26 86.5
Bannock 2,268 2,723 445 74.0
Bear Lake 67 76 9 21.0
Boise 76 85 9 16.4
Bonner 463 517 54 16.9
         
Bonneville 4,210 4,665 455 54.6
Boundary 126 190 64 74.7
Butte 92 103 11 60.5
Caribou 250 300 50 99.8
Cassia 1,276 1,430 154 91.6
         
Elmore 516 568 52 27.0
Franklin 335 390 55 56.6
Fremont 437 489 52 56.7
Gooding 515 621 106 99.8
Idaho 339 383 44 37.7
         
Jefferson 916 1,023 107 51.2
Jerome 1,034 1,170 136 79.6
Kootenai 3,801 4,386 585 50.4
Latah 886 979 93 33.1
Lemhi 203 273 70 124.6
         
Lewis 75 85 9 37.2
Lincoln 154 233 79 210.3
Madison 2,328 2,694 366 131.7
Nez Perce 757 923 166 58.7
Oneida 47 58 11 34.7
         
Shoshone 253 286 33 36.6
Twin Falls 3,734 4,273 539 88.6
Washington 437 482 45 63.1

 

Kevin Richert

About Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on KIVI 6 On Your Side; "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television; and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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