Coronavirus case numbers flatten — but child case numbers keep climbing

(UPDATED, 3:59 p.m. Monday, with numbers from the College of Eastern Idaho.)

With schools returning to session — and mask mandates scarce — coronavirus cases continued to rise among Idaho’s school-age children.

Last week, the state reported 630 new coronavirus cases involving 5- to 17-year-olds. That’s a 21 percent increase from the  previous week’s count, 522 youth cases.

These numbers are only a raw case count — it’s unclear where these children live or where they attend school. State officials are still trying to figure out a way to report K-12 case numbers, as Idaho Education News reported last week.

Some districts do report case numbers. West Ada, for example, reported five active cases Monday. Classes in the state’s largest district resumed Thursday, under a policy that allows parents to opt their kids out of mask requirements.

The Boise School District, meanwhile, reported 14 cases between June 8 and Aug. 15. Fall classes began on Aug. 16.

Overall, new coronavirus cases decreased last week — but by the narrowest of margins.

The state and its seven health districts reported 217,921 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases Friday, a one-week increase of 4,820 cases.

A week ago, the new case count came in at 4,827.

Other key metrics were troubling.

On Wednesday, 457 Idahoans were hospitalized with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 139 Idahoans were in ICUs. Earlier last week, ICU admissions hit 140, a pandemic peak.

The test positivity rate continued to climb, reaching 13.2 percent for the seven-day period ending Aug. 21. That’s the highest rate since early January — and well above the 5 percent threshold that suggests an outbreak is out of control.

Meanwhile, vaccination numbers continued to tick upward. The state administered 29,796 vaccine doses last week, a 19 percent increase.

Forty-eight percent of eligible Idahoans are fully vaccinated. For 12- to 15-year-olds, the vaccination rate is 20 percent; for 16- and 17-year-olds, the vaccination rate is 29 percent. For college-aged students, 18 to 24 years old, the rate is 36 percent. For all of these student-aged groups, vaccination rates increased by 1 percentage point over the week.

Higher education thumbnails

Boise State University: 56 cases for the week ending Thursday, 53 involving students. Positive test rate: 5.9 percent.

Idaho State University: 32 cases for the week ending Tuesday, 24 involving students.

North Idaho College: 13 cases self-reported since Aug. 22, 10 involving students.

Lewis-Clark State College: 11 active cases, 10 involving students.

Brigham Young University-Idaho: four active cases Thursday, two involving students.

College of Eastern Idaho: Three cases last week, two involving students.

College of Southern Idaho: One case for the week ending Aug. 19, involving a faculty member.

No current data is available for the University of Idaho, College of Western Idaho, The College of Idaho and Northwest Nazarene University.


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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