Idaho coronavirus infection rate shows signs of slowing

After a one-day spike Friday, Idaho’s new coronavirus case numbers appeared to taper off over the Memorial Day weekend.

The state and its health districts reported 81 confirmed or probable new cases from Friday through Tuesday — an increase of roughly 20 cases per day.

On Friday, the state and the health districts reported 103 new coronavirus cases. This was the largest one-day increase since April 3, according to Idaho Education News’ daily tracking of coronavirus cases.

And while the growth rate slowed over the holiday weekend, the growth in cases is centered in the Magic Valley.

The eight counties in the Magic Valley’s South Central Public Health District accounted for 63 of the 81 cases reported from Friday through Tuesday.

Similarly, 97 of Friday’s 103 new cases occurred in the South Central Public Health District.

Outbreaks in two Magic Valley food plants accounted for some of new cases.

At least 50 employees at Rite Stuff Foods, a Jerome potato processing plant, have tested positive for coronavirus, the Idaho Statesman reported Friday. At least 44 workers at Ida-Beef, a Burley slaughterhouse and meat-packing plant, have tested positive, the Statesman reported Tuesday.

On Thursday, Gov. Brad Little will hold a news conference to discuss his plans to reopen Idaho businesses in the wake of the pandemic. On Tuesday, Little would not directly say whether he would continue to roll back restrictions. But he indicated that state officials are focusing on trendlines and health care capacity, as opposed to one- or two-day spikes in cases.

More reading: Check out our latest coverage, and up-to-date case numbers, on our coronavirus page.

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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