New cases increase slightly; other COVID-19 metrics show signs of improvement

New coronavirus case numbers increased slightly last week, as health officials continue to plow through a backlog of reports.

As of Sunday, the state and Idaho’s seven health districts reported 277,235 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases — and 8,508 new cases for the week.

That’s about a 2 percent increase in weekly cases.

However, the state’s coronavirus website still reports a backlog in processing cases. “Case data for the most recent two-week period are incomplete. Due to the recent surge in infections, case investigation data are missing for approximately 5,000 outstanding positive laboratory results that are pending local public health district review and followup.”

A week ago, the state reported a 8,600-case backlog.

Other metrics showed signs of flattening — or improvement:

Child case numbers. In all, 1,345 5- to 17-year-olds contracted coronavirus, virtually identical to the previous week.

The state reported seven new child COVID-19 hospitalizations, unchanged from the previous week.

No Idaho children have died of COVID-19.

(Related: On this week’s podcast, Dr. Kenny Bramwell of the St. Luke’s Health System discusses the current coronavirus surge, and the effects on kids.)

Hospitalizations. Still showing signs of tailing off.

On Wednesday, the state reported 615 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 179 ICU admissions. A week earlier, those totals were 709 and 176, respectively.

Hospitalizations are down 22 percent from their peak on Sept. 24; ICU admissions are down 16 percent. However, all Idaho hospitals continue to operate under crisis standards of care.

Deaths. The state reported 134 COVID-19 deaths last week, down from 159.

In all, 3,256 Idahoans have died of COVID-19.

Positive test rates. Dropping, for the fourth consecutive week. For the seven-day period ending Oct. 9, 13.2 percent of coronavirus cases came back positive. That’s the lowest rate since August, and a decrease from 14.4 percent the previous week.

However, any rate exceeding 5 percent is a sign of an outbreak that is out of control.

Vaccinations. The state passed a milestone last week, as more than 800,000 Idahoans completed their vaccinations.

Uptake remained slow, however, as nearly 10,500 Idahoans became fully vaccinated.

Current vaccination rates:

  • Overall: 53.6 percent. (Last week: 52.9 percent.)
  • 12- to 15-year-olds: 30 percent. (Last week: 29 percent.)
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: 36 percent. (Unchanged.)
  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 42 percent. (Last week: 41 percent.)

(Related story: What to expect when 5- to 11-year-olds can get the vaccine.)

K-12 thumbnails

Current case numbers, and one-week comparisons, as self-reported by several large districts:

  • Boise: 93 positive cases, down from 128 cases the previous week.
  • Bonneville: 22 active cases Friday, down from 53 on Oct. 7.
  • Coeur d’Alene: 51 cases last week, down from 87.
  • Idaho Falls: 31 cases for the week ending Oct. 8, up from 28.
  • Kuna: 19 positive cases Monday, down from 39.
  • Moscow: Eight current cases, unchanged from the previous week.
  • Nampa: 65 cases for the week ending Oct. 8, down from 103.
  • Twin Falls: 31 new cases, down from 42.
  • West Ada: 32 active cases, down from 39.
  • Pocatello-Chubbuck: No update available. The district reported 65 total cases on Oct. 1.

Higher education thumbnails

  • Boise State University: 27 campus cases, down from 46 the previous week. Positive test rate: 3.1 percent.
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho: 15 active cases Sunday, down from 22.
  • College of Eastern Idaho: Five cases last week, unchanged from the previous week.
  • College of Southern Idaho: Four cases last week, down from 11.
  • College of Western Idaho: 14 cases so far in October, down from 59 in September.
  • Idaho State University: 51 total cases for the week ending Oct. 12, down from 62.
  • Lewis-Clark State College: Five active cases, down from six.
  • North Idaho College: 20 self-reported cases last week, down from 24.
  • University of Idaho: Five reported cases for the week ending Oct. 8, up from four.

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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