As hospital restrictions ease, coronavirus case rates continue to fall

(UPDATED, Nov. 23, with corrected child case numbers.)

As the state is deactivating crisis standards of care at most of its hospitals, most of Idaho’s coronavirus numbers are continuing to show signs of improvement.

Monday’s crisis standards of care announcement marks the latest — and perhaps most telling — sign that Idaho’s coronavirus surge is receding.

Idaho activated statewide crisis standards of care on Sept. 16 — an unprecedented step that could allow overwhelmed hospitals to ration health care. On that date, the state logged 736 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 192 ICU admissions.

But both of these numbers have been dropping steadily since late September. On Wednesday, the state tallied 347 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 108 ICU admissions.

Monday’s announcement covers hospitals in 39 of Idaho’s 44 counties. Crisis standards of care will remain in place in the Panhandle Health District.

North Idaho hospitals have operated under this designation since Sept. 7 and were the first in the state to do so.

Other key coronavirus numbers:

New cases. On Saturday, the state and its health districts reported 303,359 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases.

That comes to 3,450 new cases for the week, down 2% from the previous week.

Child cases. An eighth successive weekly decrease.

Over the past week, 454 school-aged children contracted coronavirus, down 8%.

Four children were hospitalized with COVID-19, up from two hospitalizations the previous week.

One Idaho child has died of COVID-19.

Deaths. The state reported 101 COVID-19 deaths last week, a 2% increase.

In all, 3,846 Idahoans have died of COVID-19.

Positive test rates. Continuing to decline, for the ninth successive week.

For the seven-day period ending Nov. 13, 7.2% of coronavirus cases came back positive, down from 9% the preceding week.

The positive test rate continues to move closer to the state’s 5% target — the threshold that suggests a virus is under control.

Vaccinations. Last week, 6,497 Idahoans became fully vaccinated, an 11% decline.

Current vaccination rates:

  • Overall: 56.3%. (Last week: 55.9%.)
  • 12- to 15-year-olds: 33%. (Last week: 32%.)
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: 39%. (Unchanged.)
  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 45%. (Last week: 44%.)

Meanwhile, 10,056 5- to 11-year-olds have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, 5,355 in the past week.

K-12 thumbnails

Heading into the Thanksgiving break, many large districts reported a dropoff in new cases.

Current case numbers, and one-week comparisons, as self-reported by the districts:

  • Boise: 39 positive cases last week, down from 42.
  • Bonneville: 33 active infections, down from 59.
  • Coeur d’Alene: 18 positive cases last week, down from 32.
  • Idaho Falls: 26 cases for the week ending Nov. 12, up from 11.
  • Kuna: 13 positive cases Friday, down from 19.
  • Moscow: Five new cases; no cases reported the previous week.
  • Nampa: 21 cases for the week ending Nov. 13, down from 25.
  • Pocatello-Chubbuck: 30 cases Friday, down from 45.
  • Twin Falls: Two new student and staff cases, down from 18.
  • West Ada: 15 active cases, down from 17.

Higher education thumbnails

  • Boise State University: 12 campus cases, down from 29 the previous week. Positive test rate: 1%, down from 2.4%.
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho: Nine active cases Sunday, down from 24 on Nov. 11.
  • College of Idaho: No new cases again the previous week. The college has reported 55 total cases during fall semester.
  • College of Eastern Idaho: No new data available.
  • College of Southern Idaho: Three student cases last week, up from one case the previous week.
  • College of Western Idaho: No new cases reported.
  • Idaho State University: 22 total cases for the week ending Tuesday, down from 25.
  • Lewis-Clark State College: Three active cases, down from five.
  • North Idaho College: No self-reported cases last week, down from one the previous week.
  • University of Idaho: Four reported cases for the week ending Nov. 12, unchanged from the previous week.

Editor’s note: School districts and colleges and universities do not necessarily count and report cases identically. The case numbers measure trends within a district, college or university, but they don’t provide comparisons between schools or districts.

Kevin Richert

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 "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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