Idaho reported its highest one-week coronavirus death toll this week.
However, the state’s rapid increase in new cases showed some signs of leveling off — slightly.
Twenty-eight Idahoans have died from coronavirus in the past week, bringing the state’s death toll to 146. Previously, the deadliest week in the outbreak occurred more than three months ago, when 18 Idahoans died between April 11 and April 17.
Meanwhile, the state and its seven health districts reported 17,404 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases Friday afternoon, up from 13,849 cases a week ago. That translates to a 21 percent increase, compared to a 38 percent increase the preceding week.
New case numbers also dropped in Ada and Canyon counties — after three successive weeks of record cases in both Treasure Valley counties. Meanwhile, one emerging hotspot is Bonneville County, which reported a one-week spike in new cases.
Recapping coronavirus headlines from the week:
‘They are not expendable.’ A House-Senate education working group held its first meeting Tuesday. One topic was teacher attrition. The pandemic could drive some teachers to retire early, or choose another profession, Idaho Education Association President Layne McInelly said. “They are essential, but they are not expendable.”
Sports guidelines. The Idaho High School Activities Association issued 52 pages of fall sports guidelines, but said quarantines are a near certainty. “It is not likely that ALL students will be able to return to and sustain athletic activity at the same time in all high schools and regions in Idaho.”
‘I think the answer is, it depends.’ Citing some “very concerning” outbreaks in several Idaho counties, Gov. Brad Little would not say whether schools in coronavirus hotspots can safely reopen this fall. The answer may hinge on public response. “Every time these numbers go up, the public gets more aware of it,” Little said. “People on their own initiative to do the right thing.”
Mask debate goes statewide. During a raucous hearing Thursday, local health officials Thursday ordered a mask mandate in Kootenai County, while Southwest District Health’s board voted to recommend (but not mandate) masks in its six-county jurisdiction, which includes Canyon County. Health officials issued a mask mandate for Bonneville County earlier this week.
This week’s data (and comparisons to the previous week):
|Statewide data||July 17||July 24||Change, July 18-24||Change, July 11-17|
|Cases, confirmed and probable||13,849||17,404||3,555||3,804|
|Health care workers infected||855||1,033||178||147|
|Positive test rate (approximate: some patients undergo multiple tests)||9.8 percent||10.7 percent||+0.9 percentage points||+1.5 percentage points|
|Cases in select counties||July 17||July 24||New cases, July 18-24||New cases, July 11-17|