Omicron surge shows signs of slowing


Idaho’s new coronavirus case numbers remain high, but they are showing signs of a decrease.

And other metrics suggest the state’s omicron surge is slowing.

The numbers:

Cases: The state and its health districts counted 13,370 new cases last week.

That’s the fourth highest weekly count in the 23 months of the pandemic. However, it also represents a 32% dropoff from the previous week’s record cases.

On Saturday, the state and its health districts reported 391,174 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases.

Case backlog: Still large, but shrinking slightly.

“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 40,700 outstanding positive laboratory results are pending local public health district review and followup.”

A week ago, the backlog was 42,100 cases.

Child cases: Decreasing significantly.

For the week ending Saturday, 1,834 school-age children contracted coronavirus last week, a 39% decrease.

The dropoff comes after five weeks of sharp increases in childhood cases.

But Tuesday, the state reported its second child COVID-19 death, involving a 13- to 17-year-old boy from Bonneville County.

Positive test rate: Another glimmer of improvement.

For the week ending Jan. 29, 34% of coronavirus tests came back positive. That’s down from a record 39% the previous week.

The positive test rate has been increasing sharply since mid-December.

Still, the improvement is modest. Any rate above 5% suggests a virus is out of control.

Hospitalizations: Declining, albeit slightly.

On Wednesday, Idaho reported 589 COVID-19 hospitalizations, compared to 590 the previous week.

The state counted 102 ICU admissions, down 5%.

Deaths: The state reported 74 deaths last week, down 11%.

Idaho’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 4,479.

Vaccinations: Current vaccination rates, and weekly comparisons.

  • All Idahoans, ages 5 and up: 53.3%. (Last week, 53.1%.)
  • 5- to 11-year-olds: 14%. (Last week, 13%.)
  • 12- to 15-year-olds: 36%. (Unchanged.)
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: 42%. (Last week, 41%.)
  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 49% (Unchanged.)

Here are the latest booster shot rates:

  • All age groups: 42.8%. (Last week: 42.1%.)
  • 12- to 15-year-olds: 11.5%. (Last week: 10.3%.)
  • 16- and 17-year-olds: 18.8%. (Last week: 17.9%.)
  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 18.6%. (Last week: 18.1%.)

K-12 thumbnails

Across the board, Idaho’s largest districts reported decreases in new cases:

  • Blaine County: 42 active cases last week, down from 74 the previous week.
  • Boise: 306 positive cases last week, down from 659.
  • Bonneville: Nine active cases Sunday, down from 84.
  • Coeur d’Alene: 116 positive cases last week, down from 196.
  • Idaho Falls: 94 confirmed cases for the week ending Jan. 28, down from 193.
  • Kuna: 55 positive cases Friday, down from 132.
  • Moscow: 37 new cases last week, down from 79.
  • Nampa: 183 cases last week, down from 279.
  • Pocatello-Chubbuck: 44 cases reported Friday, down from 122.
  • Twin Falls: No new data available.
  • West Ada: 29 active cases, for a five-day period ending Sunday, down from 33 on Jan. 30.

Higher education thumbnails

By and large, college campuses also reported a decrease in new cases.

  • Boise State University: Some significant dropoffs: 162 cases, down from 294 cases the previous week. Of the new cases, 87 involved off-campus students, 28 involved residential students and 47 involved faculty and staff. Thirteen students were in campus isolation beds, down from 34 the previous week. The testing positivity rate also dropped to 9.5%, down from 14.3%.
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho: 10 active cases Sunday, seven involving students. BYU-Idaho reported a total of 28 active cases on Jan. 27.
  • College of Eastern Idaho: Six cases, three involving students. CEI reported 16 cases the previous week.
  • College of Idaho: 16 cases in the past week, down from 26 cases the previous week. Two students are in isolation on campus, four students are in isolation off campus. Classes resumed Wednesday.
  • College of Southern Idaho: 27 new cases last week; 18 involving students. CSI reported 86 new cases the previous week.
  • College of Western Idaho: 26 recent cases, down from 33 the previous week.
  • Idaho State University: 210 cases for the week ending Tuesday, down from 262 the previous week. Of the current cases, 149 involve students and 61 involve faculty or staff.
  • Lewis-Clark State College: 12 active cases Friday, 11 involving students. On Feb. 1, Lewis-Clark reported 13 active cases.
  • North Idaho College: NIC says it received no self-reported cases last week, after reporting 68 cases the previous week.
  • Northwest Nazarene University: Eight active cases reported last week, down from 43 the preceding week. Six of the active cases involve students.
  • University of Idaho: 104 reported cases for the week ending Jan. 28, up from 93 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]

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday