Coronavirus case surge shows new signs of slowing

Coronavirus case rates appeared to slow sharply last week — across all age groups, and among school-age children as well.

As of Sunday, the state and its seven health districts reported 291,400 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases.

The week’s 6,055 new cases represent the lowest seven-day total since late August, and a one-week decline of 25%.

The apparent good news comes with an asterisk. The state is still winnowing down a backlog of case reports.

“Case data for the most recent two-week period are incomplete,” the state says on its coronavirus dashboard. “Due to the recent surge in infections, case investigation data are missing for approximately 2,100 outstanding positive laboratory results that are pending local public health district review and followup.”

A week ago, the state estimated the backlog at 2,900 cases.

State officials have expressed measured optimism about the current delta variant-fueled coronavirus surge. Many metrics are at least showing signs of leveling off, they say. But many of these numbers remain precariously high — and the outbreak is still raging through the Panhandle, where new case numbers are not slowing, and vaccination rates lag behind the state average.

Other numbers from the week:

Child cases. Slowing, for the fifth successive week.

Over the past week, 805 school-aged children contracted coronavirus, down 24% from the previous week.

Cases among 5- to 17-year-olds crested in late September, a few weeks into the school year, and have been tailing off ever since.

Over the past week, six children were hospitalized with COVID-19, down from eight hospitalizations the previous week.

No Idaho children have died of COVID-19.

Hospitalizations. Also tailing off for the fifth successive week.

On Wednesday, the state reported 525 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 147 ICU admissions.

These numbers are down 8% and 9%, respectively, from Oct. 20.

However, all Idaho hospitals continue to operate under crisis standards of care.

Deaths. The state reported 125 COVID-19 deaths last week, a 7% decrease.

In all, 3,538 Idahoans have died of COVID-19.

Positive test rates. Dropping, for the sixth successive week.

For the seven-day period ending Oct. 23, 11.5% of coronavirus cases came back positive, down from 12.3%.

That still leaves the positive test rate well above 5%, the threshold that suggests an outbreak is out of control.

Vaccinations. A big weekly surge. More than 20,200 Idahoans became fully vaccinated last week, nearly double from the preceding week.

Current vaccination rates:

  • Overall: 55%. (Last week: 54.3%.)
  • 12- to 15-year-olds: 31%. (Unchanged)
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: 38%. (Last week: 37%.)
  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 43%. (Last week: 42%.)

K-12 thumbnails

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

  • Boise: 62 positive cases, down from 63 cases the previous week.
  • Bonneville: 26 active cases, down from 31.
  • Coeur d’Alene: 47 positive cases last week, down from 54.
  • Idaho Falls: 22 cases for the week ending Oct. 22, down from 25.
  • Kuna: 13 positive cases Monday; 21 positive cases Friday.
  • Moscow: Four current cases, down from 10 the previous week.
  • Nampa: 32 cases for the week ending Oct. 23, down from 51.
  • Pocatello-Chubbuck: 55 cases Friday, down from 62.
  • Twin Falls: 30 new student and staff cases, up from 20.
  • West Ada: 33 active cases, up from 17.

Higher education thumbnails

  • Boise State University: 28 campus cases, up from 27 the previous week. Positive test rate: 3%, down from 3.4%.
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho: 25 active cases Sunday, down from 33.
  • College of Idaho: No new cases for the week, and 48 total cases during fall semester.
  • College of Eastern Idaho: Five cases last week, down from eight.
  • College of Southern Idaho: Four cases last week, down from 10.
  • College of Western Idaho: No new cases. CWI has reported 14 cases so far in October.
  • Idaho State University: 40 total cases for the week ending Oct. 26, down from 41.
  • Lewis-Clark State College: Six active cases, up from five.
  • North Idaho College: 15 self-reported cases last week, up from 11.
  • University of Idaho: Six reported cases for the week ending Oct. 22, down from seven.

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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