Coronavirus trendline, 11.13.20: Where Idaho stands, eight months in

Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, Idaho’s numbers keep careening in the wrong direction.

Case numbers peaked again — for the sixth successive week.

Idaho reported its deadliest week in the pandemic.

Hospitalizations far exceeded the state’s targets.

On Friday afternoon, the state and its seven health districts reported 80,165 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, up 13 percent from last week.

Illustrating the widespread nature of the outbreak, 36 of Idaho’s 44 counties recorded at least a 10 percent increase in cases.

Friday’s grim numbers come eight months to the day after Gov. Brad Little held two coronavirus news conferences — the first to declare a state of emergency, and the second to report Idaho’s first confirmed coronavirus case.

Little held another news conference Friday, this time to roll the state back into a reworked Stage 2 of the state’s four-step reopening plan. The rollback will not close any Idaho businesses, and Little again stressed his desire to keep schools open.

“We put millions of dollars toward the safe operation of schools,” he said. “Schools are controlled environments and they remain safe places to work and learn, when protocols are followed.”

Little again rejected the idea of a statewide mask mandate — but made another appeal to Idahoans to mask up voluntarily.

“We’ve been talking about it since March, but I obviously haven’t been doing a good enough job,” Little said. “I’m hopeful that compliance gets better.”

In other coronavirus headlines from the week:

Boise goes online. The Boise School District will shift to online-only instruction after Thanksgiving. Trustees made the decision Thursday afternoon, responding to sharp increases in cases not just in Ada County, but within the schools themselves. “Unfortunately, and it makes me sad to say this, we are at a critical place right now where operationally we can’t make this work any more,” Superintendent Coby Dennis said.

NNU stay-in-place order. On Tuesday, Northwest Nazarene University became the state’s first university to put face-to-face learning on hold this fall. “We know we are dealing with an ever-changing virus that is now infecting thousands each week throughout our state — and we know we have no control over that,” President Joel Pearsall said. The Nampa-based university hopes to resume in-person classes next week.

Going on, or sitting out? Even before the pandemic, only 45 percent of the state’s high school graduates went straight to college. COVID-19 appears to be making matters worse. Most of the state’s two- and four-year schools say fewer first-year in-state students showed up for fall semester.

This week’s numbers (and comparisons with last week):

Statewide data Nov. 6 Nov. 13 Change, Oct. 31-Nov. 6 Change, Nov. 7-13
Cases, confirmed and probable 70,894 80,165 6,886 9,271
Total cases, ages 0-4 1,113 1,245 85 132
Total cases, ages 5-12 2,382 2,739 259 357
Total cases, ages 13-17 3,978 4,580 449 602
Total cases, ages 18-29 19,498 21,783 1,659 2,285
Deaths 679 752 53 73
Patients ever hospitalized 2,825 3,102 253 277
Patients ever admitted to ICU 574 602 25 28
Patients recovered, estimated 31,969 34,482 2,413 2,513
Idahoans tested 403,088 424,415 19,174 21,327
Health care workers infected 4,171 4,457 253 286
Positive test rate (based on all cases divided by testing numbers, as reported by the state) 17.6 percent 18.9 percent +0.9 percentage points +1.3 percentage points

 

Top five counties, by total cases Nov. 6 Nov. 13 New cases, Nov. 7-13 New cases per day, per 100,000 population
Ada 18,618 20,966 2,348 69.7
Canyon 11,101 12,217 1,116 69.4
Bonneville 5,157 5,838 681 81.7
Kootenai 4,939 5,670 731 63.0
Twin Falls 4,853 5,664 811 133.4

 

Hotspot counties (weekly increase of 10 percent or higher) Nov. 6 Nov. 13 New cases, Nov. 7-13 New cases per day, per 100,000 population
Ada 18,618 20,966 2,348 69.7
Adams 79 89 10 33.3
Bannock 3,055 3,398 343 55.8
Bear Lake 93 127 34 79.3
Benewah 199 221 22 33.8
Bingham 1,845 2,121 276 84.2
Boise 100 115 15 27.4
Bonner 575 696 121 37.8
Bonneville 5,157 5,838 681 81.7
Boundary 244 286 42 49.0
Butte 110 113 13 71.5
Canyon 11,101 12,217 1,116 69.4
Cassia 1,607 1,776 169 100.5
Clearwater 188 245 57 93.0
Custer 103 119 16 53.0
Elmore 633 740 107 55.6
Franklin 430 491 61 62.8
Fremont 538 606 68 74.2
Gem 491 566 75 59.2
Gooding 723 818 95 89.4
Idaho 456 523 67 57.4
Jefferson 1,111 1,227 116 55.5
Jerome 1,373 1,578 205 120.0
Kootenai 4,939 5,670 731 63.0
Latah 1,114 1,342 228 81.2
Lemhi 335 383 48 85.4
Lewis 111 145 34 126.6
Madison 2,956 3,271 315 113.3
Nez Perce 1,251 1,618 367 129.7
Oneida 78 95 17 53.6
Owyhee 426 469 43 52.0
Shoshone 312 371 59 65.4
Teton 345 423 78 91.8
Twin Falls 4,853 5,664 811 133.4
Valley 153 188 35 43.9
Washington 524 581 57 79.9

 

About 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 KIVI 6 On Your Side; "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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