Coronavirus: Idaho prisons continue to test for COVID; over 150 cases reported Sunday

Posted at 3:12 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 13:23:26-04

This article was originally published by Jacob Scholl in the Idaho Statesman.

Over 100 people who tested positive for the coronavirus in Idaho prisons were medically cleared last week.

According to statistics updated Friday by the Idaho Department of Corrections, 978 people in prisons have been medically cleared or released from prison custody since COVID-19 was first found in IDOC facilities. That number is up from Monday, Aug. 17, when IDOC reported 841 people were medically cleared or released from prison custody.

The number of positive cases also dropped over the course of last week. On Aug. 17, IDOC reported 59 people tested positive and were showing symptoms, while 251 were positive and not showing symptoms. On Friday, IDOC reported 46 positives with symptoms and 166 positives without symptoms. As of Friday, IDOC has conducted 5,301 tests among its incarcerated population.

In an update published Friday, IDOC director Josh Tewalt wrote that the state will continue testing at facilities throughout this week and next. He added that no additional staff has tested positive for the coronavirus in the week prior.

“It’s also encouraging that despite continued mass testing, our new positive cases continues to decline,” Tewalt wrote. “That’s a positive trend that we hope to see continue.”


Some of Idaho’s local health districts did not update data figures on Sunday, leading to a case count that was lower than average. This is typical of weekends.

However, the low case count Sunday comes on the heels of a downturn of cases reported last week, as the state’s 14-day moving average dropped below 400 for the first time since July 11.

Idaho health districts reported 155 newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 27,869.

Canyon County reported nearly half of Sunday’s cases, as the county added 63 cases to its total, which is now 6,451. Ada County is quickly approaching 10,000 cases, as it reported 31 new cases Sunday and brought its total to 9,944.

Bonneville (15 new) and Twin Falls (11) counties were the only others to post double-digit new cases Sunday.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 13 new “probable cases” of the coronavirus on Sunday, and that total is now 12,867.

State health officials did not report any new COVID-19 deaths in Idaho on Sunday. The state’s death total remains at 307.

As of late Saturday, state officials reported there have been 236,547 coronavirus tests taken around Idaho, and roughly 11.8% of the tests have returned positive.

Coronavirus cases have been reported in all of Idaho’s 44 counties: Ada 9,944, Adams 24, Bannock 556, Bear Lake 35, Benewah 85, Bingham 388, Blaine 577, Boise 45, Bonner 191, Bonneville 1,277, Boundary 42, Butte 4, Camas 2, Canyon 6,451, Caribou 34, Cassia 518, Clark 13, Clearwater 19, Custer 18, Elmore 221, Franklin 48, Fremont 88, Gem 184, Gooding 174, Idaho 39, Jefferson 268, Jerome 505, Kootenai 2,047, Latah 168, Lemhi 50, Lewis 6, Lincoln 56, Madison 178, Minidoka 489, Nez Perce 211, Oneida 15, Owyhee 264, Payette 499, Power 98, Shoshone 181, Teton 102, Twin Falls 1,439, Valley 75 and Washington 241.

Community spread has been found in the majority of Idaho counties: Ada, Bannock, Bear Lake, Benewah, Bingham, Blaine, Boise, Bonner, Bonneville, Boundary, Canyon, Caribou, Cassia, Clark, Clearwater, Custer, Elmore, Fremont, Gem, Gooding, Idaho, Jefferson, Jerome, Kootenai, Latah, Lemhi, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Minidoka, Nez Perce, Oneida, Owyhee, Payette, Power, Shoshone, Teton, Twin Falls, Valley and Washington.