Coronavirus case numbers continued to trend downward this week — and deaths decreased as well.
As of Friday afternoon, the state and its health districts reported 33,562 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, a 6 percent increase from a week ago. Actual case numbers increased by 1,987 — the first time in two months that new case numbers have dipped below the 2,000 mark.
The state reported 29 coronavirus deaths, down considerably from last week’s 48 deaths.
In a news conference Thursday, Gov. Brad Little said several coronavirus metrics “are looking pretty good.” But he also urged caution for the fall — as schools reopen, as cooler weather moves people inside and as the flu returns to Idaho.
“Our numbers are not where we want them to be,” he said, “(and) we’ve got some added risk factors.”
Several Eastern Idaho counties reported sharp spikes. A 31 percent increase in Bingham County and an 18 percent increase in Bannock County were tied, in part, to outbreaks at jails. Case numbers also climbed by 20 percent in Power County.
But on the plus side, new case numbers continued to slow in Canyon and Ada counties — the epicenter of the state’s coronavirus outbreak. And the downward trend in Ada County could affect the state’s two largest school districts: West Ada and Boise. The Central District Health department now lists Ada County under the “red” Category 3 for coronavirus transmission, and recommends schools remain closed. Boise’s students have been attending online school since Aug. 17, and West Ada will begin classes online Tuesday.
But this week, CDH said it could move Ada County into “yellow” Category 2 on Tuesday, and recommend a blend of online and face-to-face learning. “We’re really feeling pretty confident,” CDH spokeswoman Christine Myron said Friday. (On Thursday, the CDH board linked a plan to reopen bars to the reopening of schools.)
In other coronavirus headlines from the week:
Yes, it’s complicated. With 115 school districts and dozens of charter schools calling the shots on school reopening, it’s an inherently messy process, by design. (And you can keep up by bookmarking our statewide school reopening map.)
Virtual charter enrollment increases. Amidst the confusion of fall reopening, more parents are enrolling their children in virtual charter schools. That’s not necessarily good news for the charters — who fear they will be on the hook to pay teachers who were hired to handle a short-term enrollment boost.
Campus coronavirus. Boise State University reported 32 new coronavirus cases for the week ending Thursday — a fourfold increase from the preceding week. Twenty-nine of these cases involved students, including 27 living off campus. The University of Idaho reported 24 new cases last week. Idaho State University reported nine new cases for the week ending Tuesday.
Here’s the data for the week. (And comparisons with last week.)
|Statewide data||Aug. 28||Sept. 4||Change, Aug. 22-28||Change, Aug. 29-Sept. 4|
|Cases, confirmed and probable||31,575||33,562||2,116||1,987|
|Estimated, patients recovered||14,175||16,071||1,816||1,896|
|Health care workers infected||2,004||2,183||212||179|
|Positive test rate (approximate: some patients undergo multiple tests)||12.7 percent||12.8 percent||+0.1 percentage points||+0.1 percentage points|
|Cases in select counties||Aug. 28||Sept. 4||New cases, Aug. 22-Aug. 28||New cases, Aug. 29-Sept. 4|