COVID variants identified in Central Idaho; number of cases drops off Friday

Posted at 8:07 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 22:07:31-04

This article was originally published by Ian Max Stevenson in the Idaho Statesman.

Health officials have identified coronavirus variants in Blaine County, which includes recreation hotbeds Ketchum and Sun Valley, according to the South Central Public Health District.

The county has 12 confirmed cases of a coronavirus variant first discovered in California, B.1.429, and four cases of the United Kingdom variant, B.1.1.7. The U.K. variant, which may be more deadly and more contagious than the original strain, is on its way to becoming the dominant strain in much of the U.S., according to the CDC.

Variants have been discovered in other parts of the state, and health officials are concerned that the mutations might stretch out the pandemic and worsen it again. Overall, the state’s numbers dropped off Friday.

“With the emergence of these variants ... it is imperative, now more than ever, to follow public health recommendations to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19,” read a news release from the health district.


Boise State University plans to vaccinate 1,000 of its students this weekend, according to the university.

Students can make appointments to get vaccinated with the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Saturday at ExtraMile Arena. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose, unlike Moderna and Pfizer.

At the Boise VA Medical Center in Boise, spouses and caregivers of veterans can get vaccinated at no cost. Those who qualify can make appointments at 208-422-1499.


After a large increase in cases on Wednesday, the number of new cases statewide has dropped each of the Past two days, according to data from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

On Friday, there were only 288 new COVID-19 cases (probable-confirmed) and three deaths.

Ada County added 101 of those cases, increasing its total to 49,380. Canyon County added 30 to make its total 25,661.

In Eastern Idaho, where cases have spiked recently, Bonneville County recorded 37 new cases (14,194 total) on Friday.

After increasing yesterday, the state’s seven-day moving average of new cases fell to 282.4. A week and a half ago, the average had spiked to more than 300.

Two deaths were reported in Kootenai County and one in Elmore County, which saw 13 new cases (1,790 total). One of the individuals was in their 80s, one in their 60s and one in their 50s, according to updated demographics provided by Health and Welfare.

Since last Friday, one more resident of a long-term care facility has died, according to the state’s weekly report. In total, 778 people have died at 177 facilities, which accounts for nearly 40% of COVID-19-related deaths in the state.

Hospitalizations of patients with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 have fallen slightly since Monday. There were 157 as of Wednesday, the most recent day for which data is available. Two more patients have entered an intensive care unit since Thursday.

The other counties reporting new cases Friday were Bannock (15 new, 8,456 total), Bear Lake (1 new, 368 total), Benewah (1 new, 647 total), Bingham (7 new, 4,673 total), Blaine (4 new, 2,272 total), Boise (1 new, 328 total), Bonner (2 new, 3,106 total), Franklin (2 new, 1,149 total), Fremont (1 new, 1,088 total), Gem (1 new, 1,734 total), Gooding (1 new, 1,289 total), Jefferson (12 new, 2,844 total), Jerome (3 new, 2,538 total), Kootenai (19 new, 17,232 total), Madison (14 new, 6,904 total), Nez Perce (1 new, 3,485 total), Owyhee (1 new, 1,039 total), Payette (3 new, 2,456 total), Twin Falls (12 new, 9,152 total), Valley (1 new, 827 total), Washington (5 new, 1,203 total).


Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 748,506, according to Health and Welfare. Of those, 298,650 people have been fully vaccinated.

Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 7,623 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 1,305 admissions to the ICU and 10,095 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 April 2, the health system was reporting 32 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 474 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 6%.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of April 1, the health system was reporting 19 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 363 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 9.8%.

Boise School District: Reported confirmed cases since March 30: Boise High (4), Borah High (1), Capital High (2), East Jr. High (1), Hillside Jr. High (1), Washington Elementary (1), White Pine Elementary (1).

West Ada School District: Reported confirmed cases for March 20 - April 2: Centennial High (2), Eagle High (3), Idaho Fine Arts Academy (1), Mountain View (2), Rebound School of Opportunity (1), Victory Middle (1), Eagle Hills Elementary (1), Pepper Ridge Elementary (1), Siena Elementary (2).

Total COVID-19 cases by county (confirmed + probable): Ada 49,380, Adams 333, Bannock 8,456, Bear Lake 368, Benewah 647, Bingham 4,673, Blaine 2,272, Boise 328, Bonner 3,106, Bonneville 14,194, Boundary 845, Butte 206, Camas 71, Canyon 25,661, Caribou 660, Cassia 2,905, Clark 57, Clearwater 1,029, Custer 242, Elmore 1,790, Franklin 1,149, Fremont 1,088, Gem 1,734, Gooding 1,289, Idaho 1,174, Jefferson 2,844, Jerome 2,538, Kootenai 17,232, Latah 2,922, Lemhi 516, Lewis 385, Lincoln 494, Madison 6,904, Minidoka 2,315, Nez Perce 3,484, Oneida 347, Owyhee 1,038, Payette 2,453, Power 649, Shoshone 1,050, Teton 1,166, Twin Falls 9,140, Valley 826, Washington 1,198.