This week, new coronavirus case numbers grew at their slowest pace in nearly two months.
On Friday, the state and its seven health districts reported 29,459 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases.
That’s an increase of 2,147 cases since last week. For the first time since early July, the new weekly case numbers dipped below the 3,000 mark.
The new case numbers translate to an increase of 8 percent, down from 14 percent the previous week.
New case numbers also dropped in several coronavirus hotspots, including Ada, Canyon, Kootenai, Bonneville and Twin Falls counties.
Not all the trends were positive, however. Idaho reported 40 additional COVID-19 deaths, an increase from the preceding week. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions also increased.
During a Friday news conference, Gov. Brad Little discussed the mixed trends.
COVID-19 hospital admissions remain a problem statewide, Little said, but he also pointed to improvements in other metrics, such as case numbers, positive test rates and coronavirus-related emergency room visits.
“You can’t argue with the success that we’re having,” Little said. “We just need to have that success at a faster rate.”
On Friday, Little said Idaho would remain in stage four of the state’s four-phase reopening plan for at least two more weeks. Idaho has been mired at stage four since June, as coronavirus case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have skyrocketed across the state.
In other coronavirus headlines from this week:
Boise reopens — unevenly. The Boise School District launched the 2020-21 school year Monday with online-only instruction. Boise’s 25,000 students will work from home through at least Sept. 8. Another hurdle for Boise schools: The district is still waiting on a delivery of 13,000 computing devices for students, after placing a $2.7 million order in May.
Mixed emotions in West Ada. Trustees took public testimony Thursday night on the district’s fall reopening. Parents urged the district to reopen doors to its 40,000 students. Teachers said it isn’t safe to reopen. With a Sept. 8 opening day looming, the state’s largest district will make its decision Tuesday.
Back to campus. Idaho’s colleges and universities are planning to reopen with a combination of face-to-face classes and online instruction. Idaho State University started fall classes Monday, with other schools to follow in the next few days.
Back to the Statehouse. The Legislature will reconvene Monday morning for a special session to take up two coronavirus-related topics: safeguards for the November election and civil liability protection for schools and other entities.
Here’s the data for the week. (And comparisons with last week.)
|Statewide data||Aug. 14||Aug. 21||Change, Aug. 8-14||Change, Aug. 15-21|
|Cases, confirmed and probable||27,312||29,459||3,299||2,147|
|Estimated, patients recovered||10,369||12,359||1,631||1,990|
|Health care workers infected||1,619||1,792||196||173|
|Positive test rate (approximate: some patients undergo multiple tests)||12.4 percent||12.6 percent||+0.5 percentage points||+0.2 percentage points|
|Cases in select counties||Aug. 14||Aug. 21||New cases, Aug. 8-14||New cases, Aug. 15-21|