This week’s coronavirus trendline (10.09.20 edition)

Both in terms of cases and fatalities, Idaho’s coronavirus pandemic passed two grim milestones this week.

Idaho has recorded a record number of new cases in the past seven days. The state and its seven health districts reported 47,498 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases Friday afternoon. New cases exceeded the 4,000 mark for the first time.

The new case numbers translate to a 9 percent weekly increase, unchanged from last week.

Meanwhile, more than 500 Idahoans have now died from COVID-19. The death toll now stands at 506.

As case numbers continued to climb statewide, at least 17 counties reported increases of 10 percent or more. The hotspots include Madison County (a 39 percent increase), Franklin County (31 percent), Bannock County (23 percent), Latah County (22 percent), Caribou County (21 percent), Lemhi County (19 percent), Minidoka County (16 percent), Cassia County (15 percent), Twin Falls County (15 percent), Teton County (14 percent), Gooding County (13 percent), Bingham County (12 percent), Bonneville County (12 percent), Jefferson County (12 percent), Nez Perce County (12 percent), Idaho County (11 percent) and Bonner County (10 percent).

In other coronavirus headlines from the week:

K-12 case numbers double. On Friday, the Department of Health and Welfare reported at least 103 new coronavirus cases in public and private K-12 schools, up from a minimum of 51 cases a week ago. The highest number of new cases occurred at North Star Charter School in Eagle, which reported nine new cases for the week and 30 for the school year. The House of the Lord Christian Academy, a private school in Oldtown, reported five new cases.

A warning from the White House. Suggesting a link between coronavirus outbreaks and school reopenings, a White House task force said Idaho might need to shift to online classes in several communities. The Sunday report also recommended shifting to online learning at the University of Idaho, Boise State University and BYU-Idaho, due to high positive test results among 18- to 24-year-olds.

An uneven testing rollout. The state received its first batch of rapid coronavirus antigen tests, but testing won’t begin until next week. And some local health districts aren’t talking about their testing plan. Idaho will receive more than 500,000 tests from the feds, and Gov. Brad Little wants to focus on testing teachers and school employees.

District updates. Frustrated by the district’s plans to phase in face-to-face learning, a parents’ group said it will try to recall West Ada’s five trustees. Despite rising coronavirus case numbers, the Boise School District will continue to phase in a hybrid of face-to-face and online learning, with the blessing of local health officials.

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

Statewide data Oct. 2 Oct. 9 Change, Sept. 26-Oct. 2 Change, Oct. 3-9
Cases, confirmed and probable 43,481 47,498 3,444 4,017
Weekly cases, K-12 schools (minimum) 51 103  
Deaths 474 506 16 32
Hospitalizations 1,893 2,013 98 120
ICU admissions 462 475 11 13
Estimated, patients recovered 22,568 23,881 1,277 1,313
Tests completed 314,442 330,962 15,790 16,520
Health care workers infected 2,910 3,170 222 260
Positive test rate (based on all cases divided by testing numbers, as reported by the state) 13.8 percent 14.4 percent +0.4 percentage points +0.6 percentage points
Cases in select counties:

Red alert (critical risk)

Oct. 2 Oct. 9 New cases, Sept. 26-Oct. 2 New cases, Oct. 3-9
Payette 933 995 69 62
Cases in select counties:

Orange alert (high risk)

Oct. 2 Oct. 9 New cases, Sept. 26-Oct. 2 New cases, Oct. 3-9
Benewah 152 163 11 11
Blaine 693 731 45 38
Canyon 8,375 8,724 288 349
Gem 347 352 40 5
Madison 933 1,301 279 368
   
Power 292 319 41 27
Washington 384 400 27 16
Cases in select counties:

Yellow alert (moderate risk)

Oct. 2 Oct. 9 New cases, Sept. 26-Oct. 2 New cases, Oct. 3-9
Ada 13,343 14,138 650 795
Bannock 1,313 1,616 229 303
Bingham 1,095 1,223 124 128
Bonner 359 395 39 36
Bonneville 2,933 3,278 295 345
   
Caribou 140 169 26 29
Cassia 794 916 89 122
Elmore 379 415 35 36
Franklin 168 220 34 52
Fremont 263 285 75 22
   
Jefferson 641 715 92 74
Jerome 798 872 45 74
Kootenai 2,790 3,004 156 214
Lemhi 111 132 23 21
Lincoln 94 103 6 9
   
Minidoka 748 868 73 120
Teton 195 222 33 27
Twin Falls 2,453 2,813 257 360
Valley 97 103 6 6
Cases in select counties:

Green alert (minimal risk)

Oct. 2 Oct. 9 New cases, Sept. 26-Oct. 2 New cases, Oct. 3-9
Gooding 324 366 44 42
Idaho 220 244 22 24
Latah 570 696 160 126
Nez Perce 469 525 34 56
Owyhee 335 353 9 18

 

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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