This week’s coronavirus trendline (10.02.20 edition)

 

 

Idaho K-12 schools reported at least 51 coronavirus cases this week, and overall, at least 437 cases are linked to the schools.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare released its first weekly K-12 coronavirus summary Friday afternoon.

The summary isn’t complete. To protect student privacy, Health and Welfare will release data only for public and private schools with 50 or more students.

And the summary — gleaned from school, public health and media reports — is in some cases an approximation. For several schools, Health and Welfare publishes a minimum number of cases.

A few data points:

  • The 51 new cases, for the seven-day period ending Thursday, identified several school hotspots. Emmett High School reported 12 cases, Coeur d’Alene High School reported five cases and Preston Junior High School reported four cases.
  • The cumulative numbers — at least 437 cases — also reveals some familiar hotspots, schools that have wrestled with outbreaks during the opening weeks of the school year. North Star Charter School in Eagle reported 21 cases. Payette High School reported 16 cases. Again, Emmett High School is on this list, with 15 cases total.

Until this week, the job of reporting K-12 database has fallen to local school leaders. The results have been inconsistent. For example, the Boise School District launched its own school-by-school database in August. The West Ada School District, the state’s largest district, has not released school-level data.

In other coronavirus headlines from the week:

Overall case numbers continue to climb. As of Friday afternoon, the state and its seven health districts reported 43,481 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, up 9 percent from a week ago.

New cases increased by 3,444 for the week, exceeding the 3,000 plateau for the first time since August.

Gov. Brad Little cited the rising case numbers Thursday, as he announced Idaho would remain in phase four of the state’s four-stage reopening plan. Idaho has been mired in phase four since June. And state officials are concerned that the case numbers will continue to increase in the fall, as the weather turns colder and people spend more inside, state epidemiologist Christine Hahn said Thursday.

A plethora of county hotspots. While statewide cases increased by 9 percent, at least 20 counties saw their case numbers climb by at least 10 percent. In East Idaho’s Madison County, cases increased by 43 percent, but local health officials kept the county in its “yellow” moderate risk category. Neighboring Fremont County reported a 40 percent increase and remains in the yellow. Latah County reported a 39 percent increase, but local health officials have kept the county in a “green” minimal risk category.

Other hotspots: Lemhi County (26 percent increase), Franklin County (25 percent), Caribou County (23 percent), Bannock County (21 percent), Teton County (20 percent), Jefferson County (17 percent), Gooding County (16 percent), Power County (16 percent), Bingham County (13 percent), Cassia County (13 percent), Gem County (13 percent), Bonner County (12 percent), Twin Falls County (12 percent), Bonneville County (11 percent), Idaho County (11 percent), Minidoka County (11 percent), Elmore County (10 percent)

Tests on the way. The state plans to distribute 565,000 rapid coronavirus tests over the next three months. This represents Idaho’s share of the 100 million tests the federal government is distributing to governors. Calling the tests “a game-changer for schools,” Little says he will focus on testing teachers and school staff.

Campus cases spike. One of the sharpest increases in new cases occurred at the University of Idaho, where a spike in 67 cases was tied to fraternity and sorority houses. Statewide, coronavirus numbers are increasing most sharply among 18- to 29-year-olds.

This week’s numbers (and comparisons with last week):

Statewide data Sept. 25 Oct. 2 Change, Sept. 19-25 Change, Sept. 26-Oct. 2
Cases, confirmed and probable 40,037 43,481 2,758 3,444
Deaths 458 474 20 16
Hospitalizations 1,795 1,893 94 98
ICU admissions 451 462 10 11
Estimated, patients recovered 21,291 22,568 1,366 1,277
Tests completed 298,652 314,442 13,515 15,790
Health care workers infected 2,688 2,910 146 222
Positive test rate (based on all cases divided by testing numbers, as reported by the state) 13.4 percent 13.8 percent +0.3 percentage points +0.4 percentage points
Cases in select counties:

Red alert (critical risk)

Sept. 25 Oct. 2 New cases, Sept. 19-25 New cases, Sept. 26-Oct. 2
Payette 864 933 62 69
Cases in select counties:

Orange alert (high risk)

Sept. 25 Oct. 2 New cases, Sept. 19-25 New cases, Sept. 26-Oct. 2
Canyon 8,087 8,375 234 288
Elmore 344 379 27 35
Gem 307 347 38 40
Power 251 292 28 41
Washington 357 384 28 27
Cases in select counties:

Yellow alert (moderate risk)

Sept. 25 Oct. 2 New cases, Sept. 19-25 New cases, Sept. 26-Oct. 2
Ada 12,693 13,343 432 650
Bannock 1,084 1,313 149 229
Benewah 141 152 5 11
Bingham 971 1,095 137 124
Blaine 648 693 24 45
Bonner 320 359 34 39
Bonneville 2,638 2,933 261 295
Caribou 114 140 19 26
Cassia 705 794 79 89
Franklin 134 168 39 34
Fremont 188 263 33 75
Jefferson 549 641 82 92
Jerome 753 798 38 45
Kootenai 2,634 2,790 178 156
Lemhi 88 111 14 23
Madison 654 933 208 279
Minidoka 675 748 61 73
Teton 162 195 16 33
Twin Falls 2,196 2,453 199 257
Cases in select counties:

Green alert (minimal risk)

Sept. 25 Oct. 2 New cases, Sept. 19-25 New cases, Sept. 26-Oct. 2
Gooding 280 324 17 44
Idaho 198 220 110 22
Latah 410 570 100 160
Nez Perce 435 469 46 34
Owyhee 326 335 3 9

 

Kevin Richert

About 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 KIVI 6 On Your Side; "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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