Coronavirus trendline, 5.28.21: Mask drama rages, new case numbers remain flat

While Gov. Brad Little and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin are embroiled in a high-profile feud over masks, the state’s new coronavirus case numbers held steady this week.

As of Friday afternoon, the state and its seven health districts reported 192,088 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases, a 0.5 percent weekly increase.

Other metrics were mixed.

Vaccination numbers continued their freefall. With only 31,861 jabs administered in the past week, vaccinations fell for the seventh successive week and hit their lowest level since late January.

Hospitalization and ICU admission numbers were mixed. The state’s running total — a tally of overall hospital admissions tied to the pandemic — increased sharply. But the real-time numbers of Idahoans in hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms remained stable.

Numbers notwithstanding, coronavirus drama took center stage at the Statehouse Thursday.

Serving as acting governor while Little was attending an out-of-state conference, McGeachin issued an executive order prohibiting local mask mandates. The order, designed to allow school children to attend schools mask-free, sparked confusion. The Idaho School Boards Association questioned whether the order extended to schools, since state law and the state Constitution give trustees jurisdiction over student health issues. (Click here for Thursday’s coverage.)

The executive order proved to be short-lived. Upon his return to Idaho, Little rescinded McGeachin’s directive with one of his own. Little said McGeachin’s order “unilaterally and unlawfully takes away authorities” from trustees and other local officials, and amounted to “petty politics.” (Details on Friday’s developments here.)

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

Statewide data May 21 May 28 Change, May 15-21 Change, May 22-28
Cases, confirmed and probable 191,068 192,088 1,061 1,020
Deaths 2,080 2,090 11 10
Patients ever hospitalized 8,333 8,582 66 249
Patients ever admitted to ICU 1,408 1,450 14 42
Idahoans vaccinated 653,587 672,164 16,569 18,577
Idahoans fully vaccinated 574,574 590,772 21,577 16,198
Vaccine doses administered 1,189,080 1,220,941 41,507 31,861
‘Breakthrough’ cases

(vaccinated Idahoans who later test positive)

275 295 21 20
Total tests administered 1,327,944 1,340,453 16,305 12,509
Health care workers infected 10,669 10,728 69 59
Patients recovered, estimated 110,466 111,299 939 833
Total cases, ages 0-4 2,968 2,980 22 12
Total cases, ages 5-12 7,442 7,498 70 56
Total cases, ages 13-17 11,218 11,289 108 71
Total cases, ages 18-29 47,736 47,932 257 196

Weekly positive test rate, as reported by the state: 5.0 percent for week ending May 22, up from 4.4 percent the previous week.

Top 10 counties, by total cases May 21 May 28 New cases, May 22-28 New cases per day, per 100,000 population
Ada 52,559 52,800 241 7.1
Canyon 26,987 27,135 148 9.2
Kootenai 18,372 18,558 186 16.0
Bonneville 14,944 14,983 39 4.8
Twin Falls 9,614 9,662 48 7.9
         
Bannock 8,808 8,840 32 5.2
Madison 7,242 7,277 35 12.6
Bingham 4,841 4,869 28 8.5
Nez Perce 3,655 3,678 23 8.1
Bonner 3,281 3,306 25 7.8
         
         
Ten hotspot counties (most daily cases, per 100,000 population) May 21 May 28 New cases,

May 22-28

New cases per day, per 100,000 population
Idaho 1,249 1,289 40 34.3
Lewis 406 412 6 22.3
Clearwater 1,056 1,069 13 21.2
Power 656 667 11 20.5
Bear Lake 388 396 8 18.7
         
Franklin 1,195 1,211 16 16.5
Kootenai 18,372 18,558 186 16.0
Shoshone 1,132 1,146 14 15.5
Benewah 688 697 9 13.8
Gem 1,792 1,809 17 13.4

 

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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