Idaho’s record-setting omicron surge continues

The omicron outbreak pushed Idaho’s coronavirus case numbers to another weekly record.

The numbers:

Cases: A record, for the third consecutive week.

The state and its health districts counted another 19,667 new cases last week, a 14% increase from the previous week’s record.

Saturday’s overall count: 377,804 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases.

Case backlog: Still growing.

“Data for the most recent two-week period are incomplete,” the state reported on its coronavirus website Monday. “Due to the recent surge in cases, approximately 42,100 outstanding positive laboratory results are pending local public health district review and followup.”

A week ago, the backlog was 37,400 cases.

Child cases: Still surging.

For the week ending Saturday, 2,960 school-age children contracted coronavirus last week, a 22% increase.

The childhood case rate has increased more than fourfold since early January, when K-12 schools reopened after the holiday break.

Positive test rate: Another record, for the third consecutive week.

For the week ending Jan. 22, 38.8% of coronavirus tests came back positive, up from 35.2%.

Any rate above 5% a suggests a virus is out of control.

Hospitalizations: Climbing, across the board.

On Wednesday, Idaho reported 543 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 107 ICU admissions, up 11% and 18%, respectively.

The Department of Health and Welfare last week reinstated crisis standards for hospitals across southern Idaho. The move was driven, in part, by COVID-caused staffing shortages. (Details from Audrey Dutton of Idaho Capital Sun.)

Deaths: The state reported 83 COVID-19 deaths last week, up from 48 the previous week.

Idaho’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 4,405.

Vaccinations: Current vaccination rates, and weekly comparisons.

  • All Idahoans, ages 5 and up: 53.1%. (Last week, 52.9%.)
  • 5- to 11-year-olds: 13%. (Last week, 12%.)
  • 12- to 15-year-olds: 36%. (Unchanged.)
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: 41%. (Unchanged.)
  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 49% (Last week, 48%.)

Here are the latest booster shot rates:

  • All age groups: 42.1%. (Last week: 41.2%.)
  • 12- to 15-year-olds: 10.3%. (Last week: 8.4%.)
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: 17.9%. (Last week: 16.5%.)
  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 18.1%. (Last week: 17.2%.)

K-12 thumbnails

Idaho’s largest districts reported mixed numbers, with several saying their case numbers decreased last week:

  • Blaine County: 74 active cases last week, down from 140 the previous week.
  • Boise: 625 positive cases last week, down from 948.
  • Bonneville: 84 active cases Sunday, up from 41.
  • Coeur d’Alene: 196 positive cases last week, down from 362.
  • Idaho Falls: 193 confirmed cases for the week ending Jan. 21, down from 241.
  • Kuna: 98 positive cases Friday, down from 180.
  • Moscow: 79 new cases last week, up from 17.
  • Nampa: 279 cases last week, down from 468.
  • Pocatello-Chubbuck: 122 cases reported Friday.
  • Twin Falls: No new data available.
  • West Ada: 33 active cases, for a five-day period ending Sunday, down from 55 on Jan. 23. Last week, a divided board of trustees voted to stop notifying parents of COVID-19 cases in their children’s schools. That move came days after West Ada’s teachers’ union called for greater COVID-19 transparency from the district.

Higher education thumbnails

Case numbers continue to climb on several campuses, but Boise State University reported some signs of a slowdown.

  • Boise State: 294 cases, down from 371 the previous week. Of the new cases, 195 involved off-campus students, 48 involved residential students and 51 involved faculty and staff. Thirty-four students were in campus isolation beds, up from 41 the previous week. The testing positivity rate was 14.3%, down from 16.3%.
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho: 28 active cases Thursday, 23 involving students. BYU-Idaho reported a total of 65 active cases on Jan. 20.
  • College of Eastern Idaho: 16 cases, 11 involving students. CEI reported 24 cases the previous week.
  • College of Idaho: 26 cases in the past week, down from 50 cases the previous week. Three students are in isolation on campus, eight students are in isolation off campus. Classes resume Wednesday.
  • College of Southern Idaho: 86 new cases last week; 65 involved students and 21 involved faculty and staff. CSI reported 61 new cases the previous week.
  • College of Western Idaho: 33 recent cases, up from 19 the previous week. This brings the monthly total to 60.
  • Idaho State University: 262 cases for the week ending Tuesday, up from 242 the previous week. Of the current cases, 192 involve students and 70 involve faculty or staff.
  • Lewis-Clark State College: 13 active cases Tuesday, all involving students. On Jan. 21, Lewis-Clark reported 17 active cases.
  • North Idaho College: 68 cases reported for the week ending Jan. 22, up from 66 the previous week. Of the current cases; 41 involved students and 27 involved employees.
  • Northwest Nazarene University: 54 active cases reported last week, down from 56 the preceding week. In all, 49 current cases involve students.
  • University of Idaho: Ninety-three reported cases for the week ending Jan. 21, up from 50 the previous week.

Editor’s note: School districts and colleges and universities do not necessarily count and report cases identically. The case numbers measure trends within a district, college or university, but they don’t provide comparisons between schools or districts.

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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