As a Statehouse showdown over emergency powers intensified Friday, Idaho’s new coronavirus case numbers fell to a 10-month low.
As of Friday afternoon, the state and its seven health districts reported 184,886 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases, a 0.9 percent weekly increase. The 1,646 new cases represent the lowest weekly total since the week of June 20-26.
Ada and Canyon counties accounted for nearly half of the week’s new cases.
The dropoff in statewide case numbers comes as the state passed a somber milestone, 13 months into the pandemic. On Tuesday, Idaho recorded its 2,000th COVID-19 death.
In other coronavirus headlines from the week:
The governor’s vetoes. Saying he was looking with an eye to future emergencies — not just a pandemic, but earthquakes, massive fires, or a failure of the regional power grid — Gov. Brad Little announced Friday that he would veto two bills limiting a governor’s power in an emergency. Both House Bill 135 and Senate Bill 1136 would limit the duration of emergency declarations to 60 days. Little said the bills would “limit the state’s ability to help reopen schools and businesses following a catastrophic disaster.”
Both bills passed the Legislature with the two-thirds support needed to override a veto. But the vetoes will almost certainly prolong a legislative session that will hit the 100-day mark on Tuesday. (More coverage of the vetoes from Kelcie Moseley-Morris of Idaho Capital Sun.)
Testing resumes. When schools abruptly went online a year ago, spring testing abruptly went on hold. That’s all changed this year. Students will take the Idaho Standards Achievement Test and the spring Idaho Reading Indicator, and on Tuesday, high school juniors took the SAT on the state’s nickel.
‘We serve kids as they show up.’ Even before the pandemic, Idaho’s school mental health programs were scattered. The pandemic exacerbated the situation, Idaho Education News’ Sami Edge reported in a week-long series on the topic.
“We serve kids as they show up. That is our job,” said Shelley Bonds, an administrator in Nampa. “Our kids are showing up with this — we have to address it. We’re negligent if we don’t.”
‘My guess is it’s probably coming here.’ With proper distancing, Idaho schools can probably operate safely face-to-face this spring, Dr. David Pate said on this week’s Kevin Richert podcast. But Pate, a retired CEO of the St. Luke’s Health System who sits on Gov. Brad Little’s coronavirus task force, remains concerned about the threat of new virus variants. The key, he said, is to buy time while new case numbers remain stable, and get Idahoans vaccinated quickly. “My guess is it’s probably coming here.”
Here are this week’s numbers, and comparisons with the previous week:
|Statewide data||April 9||April 16||Change, April 3-9||Change, April 10-16|
|Cases, confirmed and probable||183,240||184,886||1,955||1,646|
|Patients ever hospitalized||7,722||7,943||121||221|
|Patients ever admitted to ICU||1,320||1,361||17||41|
|Idahoans fully vaccinated||345,228||399,110||46,578||53,882|
|Vaccine doses administered||838,855||927,665||90,349||88,810|
|‘Breakthrough’ cases (vaccinated Idahoans who later test positive)||154|
|Total tests administered||1,213,463||1,234,070||19,301||20,607|
|Health care workers infected||10,175||10,303||108||128|
|Patients recovered, estimated||102,697||104,211||1,582||1,514|
|Total cases, ages 0-4||2,794||2,837||62||43|
|Total cases, ages 5-12||6,979||7,067||142||88|
|Total cases, ages 13-17||10,588||10,698||168||110|
|Total cases, ages 18-29||45,677||46,114||609||437|
Weekly positive test rate, as reported by the state: 4.8 percent for week ending April 10, down from 5.6 percent the previous week.
|Top 10 counties, by total cases||April 9||April 16||New cases, April 10-16||New cases per day, per 100,000 population|
|Ten hotspot counties (most daily cases, per 100,000 population)||April 9||April 16||New cases,
|New cases per day, per 100,000 population|