Health officials sound alarm about coronavirus test rates

Coronavirus is too prevalent to allow Treasure Valley schools to reopen safely, a local health official said Tuesday.

For the past four weeks, about 15 percent of coronavirus tests are coming back positive, Primary Health Medical Group CEO David Peterman told the Central District Health board Tuesday.

“My opinion is the positivity rate is too high for schools to open,” said Peterman, a pediatrician, according to Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman.

Ideally, Peterman would like to see positivity rates of 5 percent before schools reopen, but he would settle for a 10 percent positivity rate that was trending downward, Cripe reported.

Primary Health is a key provider of coronavirus tests in the Treasure Valley, Cripe reported.

Peterman isn’t the only health official casting a way eye toward coronavirus test results.

Positivity test results are running at about 14.5 percent, said state Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen, who said he’d also like to see a rate in the 5 percent range. “The virus is very active in many of our communities around the state,” Jeppesen said during an AARP Idaho telephone town hall.

One Treasure Valley school district has put its reopening on hold. The Caldwell School District will delay the start of school to Aug. 27 and 28, and will blend face-to-face and online instruction.


Kevin Richert

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 "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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