Downward trend: Idaho’s COVID-19 positivity rate decreases for fourth week in a row

Posted at 7:54 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 21:54:33-05

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

Idaho’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has decreased more than 55% over the past four weeks.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare on Thursday reported a statewide positivity rate of 7% on 28,923 tests for the week of Jan. 24-30. It marks the fourth consecutive week the state has seen a drop in positivity from a spike of 15.7% for Dec. 27-Jan. 2.

The current rate is the lowest the state has experienced since it reached 6.7% in mid-September. Experts say a rate below 5% demonstrates control over the spread of the virus. Idaho was last below the 5% threshold in early June.

Southeastern Idaho Public Health had the lowest positivity rate among the state’s seven public health districts, at 5.4%. Boise-based Central District Health remained at 6.2% for the second straight week, while Southwest District Health, which includes the cities of Nampa and Caldwell, dropped from 9.5% to 7.1%. Panhandle Health District had the highest positivity rate among the health districts, at 9.1%.

Health and Welfare and the seven health districts added a combined 318 new confirmed cases and 94 probable cases Thursday, for 412 total. Idaho’s seven-day moving average dipped to 404.4 cases per day.

Three counties — Ada (74 new, 38,320 total), Kootenai (60 new, 14,164 total) and Canyon (56 new, 20,347 total) — made up nearly 60% of Thursday’s total confirmed cases.

The other counties adding confirmed cases were Adams (2 new, 245 total), Bannock (8 new, 4,447 total), Benewah (1 new, 416 total), Bingham (2 new, 2,489 total), Blaine (15 new, 1,836 total), Bonner (24 new, 2,278 total), Bonneville (8 new, 8,478 total), Boundary (2 new, 353 total), Butte (1 new, 150 total), Cassia (2 new, 2,397 total), Clearwater (1 new, 744 total), Elmore (2 new, 1,189 total), Franklin (2 new, 816 total), Fremont (2 new, 852 total), Gem (5 new, 1,300 total), Gooding (2 new, 898 total), Jefferson (4 new, 1,703 total), Latah (10 new, 2,423 total), Lincoln (1 new, 368 total), Madison (19 new, 5,216 total), Oneida (1 new, 210 total), Payette (5 new, 1,858 total), Power (5 new, 449 total), Shoshone (2 new, 913 total), Teton (1 new, 596 total), Twin Falls (4 new, 6,859 total) and Valley (1 new, 613 total).

Health and Welfare removed two cases from Nez Perce County (3,014 total), while Idaho’s North Central District removed one case from Idaho County (871 total) and South Central Public Health District subtracted one from Jerome County (1,930 total). Cases are sometimes removed when an investigation determines an individual’s residence is in another county, health district or state.

There were no new coronavirus-related deaths announced Thursday, but Southwest District Health did remove one death from Canyon County’s total (257). Idaho has lost 1,749 residents to the coronavirus, with a case fatality rate of about 1.06%.

Since the pandemic reached Idaho, there have been 134,038 confirmed cases reported, plus 30,626 probable cases. Health and Welfare estimates that 84,824 of those cases have recovered from the virus.


Residents in Custer and Jefferson counties are no longer required to wear face coverings in public after the Eastern Idaho Public Health board determined that both counties had reached the metrics for the minimal, or green, COVID-19 risk level.

A daily COVID-19 case average below 15 cases per 10,000 people for 14 consecutive days qualifies as minimal risk, EIPH said.

If Bonneville County remains under the same threshold through the weekend, its mandatory mask order would be lifted at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Feb. 8.

“Although these orders are being lifted, now is not the time to ease up on COVID-19 precautions. We continue to encourage people to stay home when sick, wash their hands frequently, maintain space (at least 6 feet) between people, and when not able to distance, wear a mask correctly and consistently,” the EIPH board said in a news release.

Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 149,599, according to Health and Welfare. Of those, 91,575 people have received only their first dose.

Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 6,771 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 1,183 admissions to the ICU and 8,964 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 Feb. 3, the health system was reporting 44 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 488 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 8%.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of Feb. 3, the health system was reporting 51 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 348 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 12.7%.

Testing totals: At the end of the day Thursday, Health and Welfare reported that 610,636 people had been tested statewide. Nearly 22% of those have been positive for COVID-19.

Boise School District: Reported positive cases since Feb. 2: Boise High (1), Capital High (2), Fairmont Junior High (1), Horizon Elementary (1), Les Bois Junior High (1), Liberty Elementary (1), Trail Wind Elementary (3).

West Ada School District: Reported cases from Jan. 21-Feb. 3: Centennial High (2), Eagle High (5), Meridian High (1), Mountain View High (3), Rocky Mountain High (1), Eagle Middle (1), Heritage Middle (2), Lake Hazel Middle (2), Lowell Scott Middle (1), Sawtooth Middle (2), Star Middle (1), Barbara Morgan STEM Academy (1), Desert Sage Elementary (2), Discovery Elementary (1), Hunter Elementary (1), Pioneer School of the Arts (4), Seven Oaks Elementary (1), Siena Elementary (2), Silver Sage Elementary (1), Summerwind STEM (1).

Counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases: Ada 38,320, Adams 245, Bannock 4,447, Bear Lake 239, Benewah 416, Bingham 2,489, Blaine 1,836, Boise 224, Bonner 2,278, Bonneville 8,478, Boundary 353, Butte 150, Camas 50, Canyon 20,347, Caribou 327, Cassia 2,397, Clark 44, Clearwater 744, Custer 175, Elmore 1,189, Franklin 816, Fremont 852, Gem 1,300, Gooding 898, Idaho 871, Jefferson 1,703, Jerome 1,930, Kootenai 14,164, Latah 2,423, Lemhi 394, Lewis 275, Lincoln 368, Madison 5,216, Minidoka 1,876, Nez Perce 3,014, Oneida 210, Owyhee 854, Payette 1,858, Power 449, Shoshone 913, Teton 596, Twin Falls 6,859, Valley 613, Washington 838.