After a steady dropoff through the past month, new coronavirus case numbers crept back upward this week.
As of Friday afternoon, the state and its seven health districts reported 37,279 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases, a 6 percent increase from the previous week.
New case numbers had dropped for each of the past four weeks.
An increase in test results could account for some of this week’s uptick in cases. Test numbers spiked back up by 26 percent this week — after plummeting to a three-month low last week. But testing remains less widespread than it was in the summer, and far below the testing goals set by a gubernatorial task force.
While COVID-19 deaths dropped from the previous week, hospitalizations and ICU admissions ticked upward. On Friday, Gov. Brad Little said Idaho would remain in stage four of its four-step reopening plan, because coronavirus hospitalization rates remain too high to roll back state restrictions. Since June, Idaho has been in stage four, which allows businesses to operate with social distancing and other protocols in place.
Seven of eastern Idaho’s largest counties — Bannock, Bingham, Bonneville, Fremont, Jefferson, Madison and Power counties — all reported increased case numbers of more than 10 percent. Latah and Bonner counties also reported increases exceeding 10 percent.
In other coronavirus headlines from the week:
Boise State case numbers climb. On Friday, Boise State University reported 77 new coronavirus cases for the week — nearly doubling the 42 cases from the previous week. Cases in the residence halls tripled from the previous week, which means 42 of the university’s 115 isolation beds are now in use. A week ago, only 14 isolation beds were occupied.
West Ada reopens. The West Ada School District opened its doors Monday, with most students returning to the classroom on an alternating schedule. Already, the state’s largest district is looking at a plan that could allow elementary students to attend school full-time by the end of October. Late last week, 13 Republican lawmakers urged West Ada to reopen full-time for all students.
Bonneville closes. In eastern Idaho, Bonneville High School closed Wednesday and Thursday, after a student on campus tested positive for coronavirus.
This week’s numbers (and comparisons with last week):
|Statewide data||Sept. 11||Sept. 18||Change, Sept. 5-11||Change, Sept. 12-18|
|Cases, confirmed and probable||35,275||37,279||1,713||2,004|
|Estimated, patients recovered||18,052||19,915||1,981||1,863|
|Health care workers infected||2,348||2,542||165||194|
|Positive test rate (based on all cases divided by testing numbers, as reported by the state)||12.9 percent||13.1 percent||+0.1 percentage points||+0.2 percentage points|
|Cases in select counties||Sept. 11||Sept. 18||New cases, Sept. 5-11||New cases, Sept. 12-18|