Coronavirus trendline, 2.19.21: New case numbers fall to a five-month low

Idaho’s coronavirus case numbers continued to tumble this week — receding to a five-month low.

On Friday evening, the state and its seven health districts reported 169,065 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases. That translates to only a 1.0 percent increase from last week.

The week’s 1,713 cases mirrors a seven-day period ending Sept. 11.

The continued slowdown in case numbers mirrors a drop in cases in the K-12 system. On Idaho’s college and university campuses, numbers have remained more or less flat.

In other key metrics from the week, COVID-19 deaths and ICU admissions decreased, overall hospital admissions increased slightly and Idaho administered a record number of coronavirus vaccines.

Despite these encouraging numbers, the week ended with a concerning development.

The Department of Health and Welfare reported Idaho’s first case of the South African coronavirus variant. Many health officials have expressed concern over the new and foreign variants, saying they could be more easily transmitted than the original strain of coronavirus.

In other coronavirus news from the week:

“We’ve made just incredible progress.” An upbeat Gov. Brad Little touted the state’s declining case numbers during an AARP Idaho virtual town hall Tuesday. While Little fielded several calls from seniors who have been unable to get a vaccination appointment, he said nearly a third of Idahoans over the age of 65 have received a shot.

Boise approves reopening plan. The Boise School District will reopen for full-time, face-to-face instruction next month. Elementary and special education students will return to school full-time on March 9. On March 29, the state’s second largest district will reopen for all students in all grades.

 Staffing challenges. It’s not just about the case numbers. As Idaho’s schools look to reopen, they face another obstacle: finding the bus drivers, cafeteria staff and custodians that keep things running smoothly. “There’s a ton of operational stuff that flies under the radar,” Nampa School District spokeswoman Kathleen Tuck said.

Here are this week’s numbers, and comparisons with the previous week:

Statewide data Feb. 12 Feb. 19 Change, Feb. 6-12 Change, Feb. 13-19
Cases, confirmed and probable 167,352 169,065 2,322 1,713
Total cases, ages 0-4 2,477 2,503 50 26
Total cases, ages 5-12 6,079 6,166 117 87
Total cases, ages 13-17 9,416 9,553 150 137
Total cases, ages 18-29 41,697 42,108 554 411
Deaths 1,799 1,826 41 27
Patients ever hospitalized 6,875 6,973 90 98
Patients ever admitted to ICU 1,204 1,219 20 15
Patients recovered, estimated 89,126 91,637 3,687 2,511
Total tests administered 1,032,823 1,056,739 20,987 23,916
Health care workers infected 9,231 9,406 202 175
Idahoans vaccinated 171,604 205,152 37,237 33,548
Idahoans fully vaccinated (two doses) 50,569 80,389 18,490 29,820
Vaccine doses administered 222,173 285,541 55,707 63,368

Weekly positive test rate, as reported by the state: 5.8 percent for week ending Feb. 13, down from 6.4 percent the previous week.

Top 10 counties, by total cases Feb. 12 Feb. 19 New cases, Feb. 13-19 New cases per day, per 100,000 population
Ada 45,720 46,162 442 13.1
Canyon 24,285 24,497 212 13.2
Kootenai 16,285 16,449 164 14.1
Bonneville 11,724 11,878 154 18.5
Twin Falls 8,883 8,948 65 10.7
   
Bannock 7,607 7,758 151 24.6
Madison 6,091 6,172 81 29.1
Bingham 4,162 4,192 30 9.2
Nez Perce 3,324 3,337 13 4.6
Bonner 2,882 2,935 53 16.6
   
Ten hotspot counties (most daily cases, per 100,000 population) Feb. 12 Feb. 19 New cases, Feb. 13-19 New cases per day, per 100,000 population
Benewah 543 575 32 49.2
Madison 6,091 6,172 81 29.1
Boundary 781 804 23 26.8
Oneida 316 324 8 25.2
Bannock 7,607 7,758 151 24.6
Adams 318 325 7 23.3
Butte 193 197 4 22.0
Blaine 2,102 2,136 34 21.1
Bonneville 11,724 11,878 154 18.5
Jefferson 2,352 2,390 38 18.2

 

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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