This week’s coronavirus trendline (6.26.20 edition)

The week’s numbers are in: Idaho’s coronavirus case numbers spiked by 34 percent.

It’s the biggest weekly increase since the early days of the pandemic — when the state was under a stay-at-home order. From April 4 through 10, cases increased by 38 percent.

Friday’s numbers continued the spike. The state reported a record number of new confirmed cases for the second time in three days. The state and its seven health districts reported 306 confirmed or probable cases in one day; for 10 weeks from early April through mid-June, the state averaged 236 new cases per week.

The spiraling cases prompted a flurry of action at the state and local level.

Boise State University: The state’s largest campus closed its buildings Monday, after health officials linked eight possible coronavirus cases to the campus within a 48-hour period.

With an additional 20 cases reported, and dozens of tests pending, Boise State Friday extended this closure through July 5. In a strongly worded email, university officials admonished the campus community to practice social distancing and follow other health guidelines. “To date, there has been a lack of compliance with these campus requirements that cannot continue.”

Central District Health: The regional board Monday tightened restrictions in Ada County, closing bars and banning gatherings of more than 50 people. Ada County is one of several coronavirus hotspots. The state’s largest county reported a 63 percent increase in cases this week, on the heels of a 25 percent increase the previous week. “Clearly we’re heading in the wrong direction … and too quickly to wait,” Central District Health Director Russell Duke said in a Monday news conference.

In a brief virtual meeting — occasionally interrupted by comments and chatter from listeners — the health board Friday acknowledged that its meeting Saturday likely violated the state’s open meeting law, and the board quickly voted to put the Ada County restrictions back in place.

State of Idaho: On Thursday, Gov. Brad Little kept Idaho in stage four of the state’s four-step business reopening plan, instead of relaxing restrictions for large gatherings, restaurants and travel. Little and state epidemiologist Christine Hahn cited three troubling trends: the increase in cases, the increased percentage of positive test results and increased cases involving health care workers. “We want our children back in school at the end of this summer,” said Little. “So please, do not lay your guard down.”

A state committee has started its work on school reopening issues. It is expected to issue guidelines within a matter of days. However, local administrators and trustees will decide when, or if, they can reopen school.

This week’s trends:

Statewide statistics June 19 June 26 Change
Cases, confirmed and probable 3,888 5,214 34 percent
Deaths 89 90 1 percent
Hospitalizations 279 309 11 percent
ICU admissions 101 108 7 percent
Patients recovered 3,183 3,827 20 percent
Tests completed 70,791 83,537 18 percent
Positive test rate (approximate: some patients undergo multiple tests) 5.5 percent 6.2 percent +0.7 percentage points
Cases in select counties
Ada County 1,100 1,798 63 percent
Canyon County 403 652 62 percent
Twin Falls County 507 546 8 percent
Blaine County 518 529 2 percent
Jerome County 216 232 7 percent
Cassia County 163 201 23 percent
Kootenai County 115 176 53 percent
Minidoka County 115 148 29 percent
Bonneville County 92 109 18 percent


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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