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|
|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|
|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|
|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|