This isn’t a good combination.
For the fourth consecutive week, Idaho’s coronavirus case numbers increased at record levels.
Meanwhile, Idaho recorded its deadliest week in the pandemic.
As of Friday afternoon, the state and its health districts reported 64,008 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases. It’s an increase of 6,099 cases, or 10.5 percent, from last week.
A spike in case numbers could eventually lead to increased hospitalizations and fatalities — and Idaho’s death rate is already climbing. This week’s record 64 COVID-19 fatalities leaves the state’s death toll at 626.
New hospital and ICU admissions were down from the previous week.
In other coronavirus headlines from the week:
Stage 3, again. Responding to rising case numbers, and increased pressure on the state’s health care system, Gov. Brad Little Monday moved the state back to the third stage of Idaho’s four-step reopening plan. The move doesn’t affect schools. The reaction to the move was lukewarm at best.
Reading scores drop … The state released its first major education data set of the fall semester, and not surprisingly, the numbers were down from 2019. Scores on the Idaho Reading Indicator hit a six-year low. All told, slightly less than half of the state’s kindergarten through third-grade students scored at grade level.
… and enrollment drops as well. For the first time since 1997, enrollment in traditional K-12 schools is down. The sharpest decline occurred at the kindergarten level, where enrollment fell by more than 1,100 students. The overall dropoff of more than 4,500 students correlates with increased enrollment in online charter schools.
K-12 cases skyrocket. The Department of Health and Welfare linked at least 199 new coronavirus cases to K-12 schools this week. That more than doubles last week’s minimum of 96 — and is by far the most cases Health and Welfare has reported since launching the weekly count on Oct. 2. Hotspots included Post Falls High School (11 cases), Hillcrest High School in Ammon (10 cases); Lewiston High School (eight cases); Boise’s Timberline High School (eight cases); and Sandcreek Middle School in Ammon (eight cases).
A glimmer of hope? New case numbers on the state’s three university campuses dropped this week. Boise State University posted its lowest case numbers in seven weeks, and the University of Idaho posted its lowest numbers in six weeks. “They’re proving that we can do this,” Little said Tuesday of the improved campus numbers. (For a closer look, check back Monday morning for our weekly campus roundup.)
This week’s numbers (and comparisons with last week):
|Statewide data||Oct. 23||Oct. 30||Change, Oct. 17-23||Change, Oct. 24-30|
|Cases, confirmed and probable||57,909||64,008||5,659||6,099|
|Total cases, ages 0-4||936||1,028||61||92|
|Total cases, ages 5-12||1,887||2,123||182||236|
|Total cases, ages 13-17||3,187||3,529||383||342|
|Total cases, ages 18-29||16,404||17,839||1,548||1,435|
|Weekly cases, K-12 schools (minimum)||96||199||+2||+103|
|Hospital admissions, total||2,387||2,572||213||185|
|ICU admissions, total||527||549||32||22|
|Estimated, patients recovered||27,509||29,556||2,052||2,047|
|Health care workers infected||3,626||3,918||277||292|
|Positive test rate (based on all cases divided by testing numbers, as reported by the state)||15.8 percent||16.7 percent||+0.8 percentage points||+0.9 percentage points|
|Top five counties, by total cases||Oct. 23||Oct. 30||New cases, Oct. 24-30||New cases per day, per 100,000 population|
|Hotspot counties (weekly increase of 10 percent or higher)||Oct. 23||Oct. 30||New cases, Oct. 24-30||New cases per day, per 100,000 population|