This week’s coronavirus trendline (9.18.20 edition)

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
Deaths 412 438 30 26
Hospitalizations 1,569 1,701 108 132
ICU admissions 412 441 18 29
Estimated, patients recovered 18,052 19,915 1,981 1,863
Tests completed 272,888 285,137 9,705 12,249
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
Ada 11,873 12,261 392 388
Canyon 7,652 7,853 267 201
Kootenai 2,335 2,456 92 121
Bonneville 2,128 2,377 204 249
Twin Falls 1,862 1,997 104 135
Bannock 850 935 62 85
Bingham 701 834 85 133
Payette 758 802 41 44
Jerome 677 715 53 38
Cassia 594 626 7 32
Blaine 609 624 2 15
Minidoka 584 614 15 30
Jefferson 401 467 29 66
Madison 331 446 63 115
Nez Perce 372 389 50 17
Washington 318 329 20 11
Owyhee 317 323 8 6
Elmore 307 317 11 10
Latah 274 310 17 36
Bonner 255 286 22 31
Gem 255 269 24 14
Gooding 247 263 7 16
Power 182 223 25 41
Fremont 135 155 15 20
Teton 144 146 13 2
Benewah 124 136 3 12

 

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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