As omicron emerges nationally, Idaho’s weekly infection rate slows

At least last week, Idaho’s new coronavirus case numbers defied the national trends.

Nationally, case rates are rising, amidst concerns about the new and apparently highly transmissible omicron variant.

But for the seven-day period ending Saturday, Idaho reported 2,270 new coronavirus cases, a 19% weekly decrease.

The state and its seven health districts have tallied 314,024 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases.

The state has connected only one case to the omicron variant. But the state has limited capacity to sequence cases and identify variants; earlier this year, the state was slow to connect cases to the delta variant.

Other current numbers:

Child cases. Also decreasing.

The state reported 265 new cases involving school-aged children — a 28% decline, and the lowest weekly number since September.

One child was hospitalized with COVID-19 last week, down from four the previous week.

One Idaho child has died of COVID-19.

Hospitalizations. Another week of mixed trends.

On Wednesday, the state reported 302 COVID-19 hospitalizations, a 3% decrease.

The state reported 94 ICU admissions, up 8%.

The Department of Health and Welfare Monday lifted crisis standards of care in North Idaho, saying COVID-19-related hospitalizations no longer exceed capacity.

“While this is good news for Idaho, we’re still watching the omicron variant very closely because this is a precarious time,” Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said in a news release Monday.

The state lifted crisis standards of care in Idaho’s 39 other counties in November.

Deaths. The state has reported 39 new COVID-19 deaths last week, a 34% decrease.

Idaho’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 4,068.

Positive test rates. Decreasing, to their lowest level since July.

For the seven-day period ending Dec. 11, 6.5% of coronavirus cases came back positive, down from 7.3%.

For five months, the state’s positive test rate has exceeded 5%, the threshold that suggests a virus is out of control.

Vaccinations. The state reports 881,270 Idahoans have completed their vaccinations.

Current vaccination rates:

  • All Idahoans, age 5 and up: 51.4% (Last week, 50.9%.)
  • 5- to 11-year-olds: 8%. (Last week: 5%.)
  • 12- to 15-year-olds: 34%. (Unchanged.)
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: 40%. (Unchanged.)
  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 47%. (Unchanged.)

Booster dose rates:

  • 12- to 15-year-olds: Not available. (Last week: 0.1%.)
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: 2.7%. (Last week: 0.6%.)
  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 8.8%. (Last week: 3.7%.)
  • All age groups: 34.7% (Last week: 16%.)

K-12 thumbnails

Current case numbers, as reported by the state’s largest school districts.

  • Boise: 21 positive cases last week, down from 35.
  • Bonneville: No current data available.
  • Coeur d’Alene: 10 positive cases, down from 20.
  • Idaho Falls: Four cases for the week ending Dec. 10, down from seven.
  • Kuna: No current data available.
  • Moscow: Five new cases, unchanged from the previous week.
  • Nampa: No new data available.
  • Pocatello-Chubbuck: 16 total cases, up from 15.
  • Twin Falls: No new cases last week, down from seven.
  • West Ada: Six active cases, down from 20.

Higher education thumbnails

Here are the latest campus numbers.

  • Boise State University: 12 campus cases last week, down from 17. Positive test rate: 1.6%, up from 1.4%.
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho: Two active cases Sunday, down from four.
  • College of Idaho: No new cases, down from one the preceding week.
  • College of Eastern Idaho: No cases over the past three weeks.
  • College of Southern Idaho: Three new student cases last week, down from five the preceding week.
  • College of Western Idaho: No recent cases reported.
  • Idaho State University: Four total cases for the week ending Tuesday, down from 14.
  • Lewis-Clark State College: One active case Friday, down from two.
  • North Idaho College: No self-reported cases last week, down from five.
  • University of Idaho: No current data available.

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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