Omicron surge continues: weekly case numbers hit another record

(UPDATED, 8:57 a.m., with corrected numbers from Nampa School District.)

Idaho shattered its weekly coronavirus case numbers — again — as the omicron surge continues across the state.

For the second successive week, case numbers and positive test rates hit pandemic peaks.

The unsettling weekly numbers:

Cases: The state added 17,191 new coronavirus cases last week — up 28 percent from the previous week’s record.

The state also tallied 4,537 cases Wednesday, a one-day record.

As of Saturday, the state and its seven health districts reported 358,137 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases.

Case backlog: On top of the reported record case numbers, a paperwork backlog just keeps growing.

“Data for the most recent two-week period are incomplete,” the state reported on its coronavirus website. “Due to the recent surge in cases, approximately 37,400 outstanding positive laboratory results are pending local public health district review and followup.”

A week ago, the backlog was 22,000 cases.

Child cases: Continuing to surge.

For the week ending Saturday, 2,431 school-age children contracted coronavirus last week, a 40 percent weekly increase.

The weekly child cases are almost certainly a record; it’s the highest figure since October 2020, when Idaho Education News began compiling data on case numbers by age group.

Positive test rate: Surging, to another staggering weekly record.

For the week ending Jan. 15, 34.1% of coronavirus tests came back positive, shattering the previous week’s record, 26.9%.

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

Hospitalizations: Mixed numbers.

On Wednesday, Idaho reported 491 COVID-19 hospitalizations, up 30% from the previous week.

Meanwhile, ICU admissions decreased. Wednesday’s 91 ICU admissions represent a 7% decline.

Deaths: The state reported 48 COVID-19 last week, a 30% increase.

Idaho’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 4,322.

Vaccinations: Current vaccination rates, and weekly comparisons.

  • All Idahoans, ages 5 and up: 52.9%. (Last week, 52.6%.)
  • 5- to 11-year-olds: 12%. (Unchanged.)
  • 12- to 15-year-olds: 36%. (Unchanged.)
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: 41%. (Unchanged.)
  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 48% (Unchanged.)

Here are the latest booster shot rates:

  • All age groups: 41.2%. (Last week: 39.9%.)
  • 12- to 15-year-olds: 8.4%. (Last week: 5.2%.)
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: 16.5%. (Last week: 14.5%.)
  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 17.2%. (Last week: 15.9%.)

K-12 thumbnails

School district numbers are mixed. Several large districts reported staggering increases, while others say their numbers are tapering off.

  • Blaine County: 140 active cases last week, down from 163.
  • Boise: 868 positive cases last week, another weekly record for the school year. Boise reported 602 cases the previous week.
  • Bonneville: 41 active cases Sunday, down from 93.
  • Coeur d’Alene: 348 positive cases, up from 280.
  • Idaho Falls: Almost a tenfold increase: 241 confirmed cases from Jan. 10 through Jan. 14, up from 27 the previous week.
  • Kuna: 125 positive cases Friday, down from 158 the previous week.
  • Moscow: 17 new cases last week, up from 15 the previous week.
  • Nampa: 465 cases last week, up from 225 the previous week. Several Nampa schools will be closed Monday.
  • Pocatello-Chubbuck: No new data available.
  • Twin Falls: No new data available. Twin Falls schools were closed Friday.
  • West Ada: 55 active cases, for a five-day period ending Sunday. West Ada reported 56 active cases on Jan. 16.

Higher education thumbnails

  • Boise State University: 371 cases — a record for the school year, and up slightly from 366 cases the previous week. Of the new cases, 233 involved off-campus students, 76 involved residential students and 62 involved faculty and staff. Forty-one students were in campus isolation beds, up from 30 the previous week. The testing positivity rate was 16.3%, down from 17.9%.
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho: 65 active cases Thursday, 58 involving students. BYU-Idaho reported a total of 64 active cases on Jan. 13.
  • College of Eastern Idaho: 24 cases, 15 involving students. CEI reported 26 cases the previous week.
  • College of Idaho: 50 cases in the past week, up from 40 cases the previous week. (174 for the year). Ten students are in isolation on campus, 14 students are in isolation off campus. Classes resume on Feb. 2.
  • College of Southern Idaho: 61 new cases last week; 46 involved students and 15 involved faculty and staff. CSI reported 22 new cases the previous week.
  • College of Western Idaho: 19 recent cases, bringing the monthly total to 27.
  • Idaho State University: Another big case surge: 242 cases for the week ending Tuesday, up from 108 the previous week. Of the current cases, 185 involve students and 57 involve faculty or staff.
  • Lewis-Clark State College: 17 active cases for the week ending Friday, unchanged from the previous week. Fifteen current cases involve students.
  • North Idaho College: 66 cases reported for the week ending Jan. 15; 45 involved students and 21 involved employees.
  • Northwest Nazarene University: 56 active cases reported last week, up from 37 the preceding week. All but three of this week’s cases involve students. In all, 107 students and employees are under stay-at-home directives.
  • University of Idaho: Fifty reported cases for the week ending Jan. 14, up from six the previous week.


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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