COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations see increase; Southeast Idaho confirms first variant

Posted at 8:25 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 22:25:41-04

This article was originally published by Rachel Roberts in the Idaho Statesman.

Idaho saw a significant increase Wednesday in both new cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations, according to data from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

There were 460 new COVID-19 cases added to the state’s total, which is the largest single-day increase in more than three weeks. The state’s seven-day moving average held below 300 for the eighth consecutive day, however, at 284.6.

Statewide hospitalizations for patients with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 174 as of Monday, the most recent day for which data is available. It is the most patients hospitalized with the coronavirus since Health and Welfare reported 176 on Feb. 14. Patients in intensive care with COVID-19 increased to 46, a number last seen on Feb. 2.

It is unclear whether these increases are an anomaly or signs of another rise in the spread of the virus throughout the state. The Idaho Statesman will continue to monitor the situation with daily updates.

Ada County added more than 100 new cases for the second day in a row, with 123 (49,189 total). Bonneville County, home to Idaho Falls, reported 93 new cases (14,097 total) to push its seven-day moving average incidence rate to 41.5, which is the highest in the state. Madison County, which is also under Eastern Idaho Public Health’s jurisdiction, reported 27 new cases (6,867 total) and has the state’s second-highest incidence rate, at 40.1.

A seven-day incidence rate shows the number of new coronavirus infections within the past week per 100,000 inhabitants. Ada County’s is just 16.2.

Franklin County, which includes the town of Preston, saw 26 new cases (1,147 total), bringing its incidence rate to 36. A Southeastern Idaho Public Health spokesperson said the spike in cases in Franklin County was because of a “reporting delay by providers,” and contact tracers are “still in the process of interviewing people to determine where they are at in the course of their infection.”

Southeastern Idaho Public Health also confirmed the first coronavirus variant in its district Wednesday. SIPH said the UK variant (B.1.1.7) has been found.

Five coronavirus-related deaths were reported between Ada (1 new, 449 total), Bonner (1 new, 38 total), Cassia (1 new, 26 total), Gem (1 new, 35 total) and Payette (1 new, 33 total) counties. Idaho has lost 1,962 residents to the virus, with a case fatality rate of about 1.09%.

The latest deaths were all individuals 60 or older, according to updated demographics provided by Health and Welfare.

The other counties reporting new cases Wednesday were Bannock (32 new, 8,414 total), Benewah (2 new, 646 total), Bingham (4 new, 4,658 total), Blaine (10 new, 2,266 total), Bonner (6 new, 3,098 total), Boundary (1 new, 843 total), Butte (2 new, 205 total), Canyon (46 new, 25,587 total), Caribou (3 new, 657 total), Cassia (2 new, 2,901 total), Clearwater (1 new, 1,029 total), Elmore (13 new, 1,772 total), Fremont (2 new, 1,083 total), Gem (3 new, 1,732 total), Gooding (2 new, 1,286 total), Jefferson (13 new, 2,816 total), Kootenai (19 new, 17,185 total), Latah (3 new, 2,917 total), Minidoka (3 new, 2,314 total), Payette (6 new, 2,453 total), Shoshone (1 new, 1,047 total), Teton (3 new, 1,158 total), Twin Falls (13 new, 9,138 total), Valley (2 new, 826 total) and Washington (2 new, 1,198 total).

Health and Welfare removed two cases from Jerome County (2,535 total) and one case from Lemhi County (516 total).


Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 716,206, according to Health and Welfare. Of those, 284,113 people have been fully vaccinated.

Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 7,591 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 1,301 admissions to the ICU and 10,029 health care workers infected. Hospital and health care numbers are based on cases with completed investigations into contacts, not the full number of positives.

St. Luke’s Health System: As of March 30, the health system was reporting 28 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 483 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 5%.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of March 30, the health system was reporting 22 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 399 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 9.6%.

Boise School District: Reported confirmed cases since March 30: Borah High (1).

West Ada School District: Reported confirmed cases for March 17-30: Centennial High (1), Star Middle (1), Victory Middle (1), Pepper Ridge Elementary (2), Siena Elementary (2).

Total COVID-19 cases by county (confirmed + probable): Ada 49,189, Adams 333, Bannock 8,414, Bear Lake 367, Benewah 646, Bingham 4,658, Blaine 2,266, Boise 322, Bonner 3,098, Bonneville 14,097, Boundary 843, Butte 205, Camas 71, Canyon 25,587, Caribou 657, Cassia 2,901, Clark 56, Clearwater 1,029, Custer 242, Elmore 1,772, Franklin 1,147, Fremont 1,083, Gem 1,732, Gooding 1,286, Idaho 1,174, Jefferson 2,816, Jerome 2,535, Kootenai 17,185, Latah 2,917, Lemhi 516, Lewis 385, Lincoln 494, Madison 6,867, Minidoka 2,314, Nez Perce 3,479, Oneida 347, Owyhee 1,038, Payette 2,453, Power 648, Shoshone 1,047, Teton 1,158, Twin Falls 9,138, Valley 826, Washington 1,198.