Idaho adds 1,400 COVID-19 cases, 26 deaths; hospitals receive doses of Moderna vaccine

Posted at 8:02 PM, Dec 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-23 22:02:17-05

This article was originally published by Nicole Blanchard in the Idaho Statesman.

Idaho health officials on Wednesday reported 1,140 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 26 new deaths, according to state and district data, with Ada County contributing half of the confirmed cases and more than one-third of the deaths.

The state also tallied 281 new probable cases, bringing the total reported cases for the day to 1,421.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare added 574 new cases of COVID-19 to Ada County’s tally, bringing the county’s pandemic total to 31,136. The county’s true caseload is still unclear as Boise-based Central District Health works through a significant backlog of cases. Wednesday’s total is the largest number of new confirmed cases added in Ada County since Dec. 9, when officials reported a record 653 new confirmed cases in a single day. The new cases Wednesday bumped the county’s seven-day moving average — which had been declining over the last week — up to an average 384.7 new cases per day.

Central District Health reported 10 new COVID-19-related deaths in Ada County for a total of 330 over the duration of the pandemic. Other deaths were reported in the following counties: Bannock (3 new, 56 total), Bingham (1 new, 43 total), Canyon (4 new, 207 total), Gem (1 new, 18 total), Jerome (1 new, 16 total), Kootenai (3 new, 107 total), Madison (2 new, 13 total) and Nez Perce (1 new, 44 total).

According to Eastern Idaho Public Health, the two Madison County deaths were both women — one in her 60s and one in her 90s. The Bannock County deaths were all men, two in their 70s and one who was in his 80s, Southeastern Idaho Public Health reported. The Bingham County death was a man in his 70s. No details were given on the other reported deaths.

To date, 1,343 Idahoans have died in connection with COVID-19.

Kootenai and Canyon counties were the only others to report triple-digit new cases Wednesday. The Panhandle Health District reported 126 new cases in Kootenai County, which is home to Coeur d’Alene and has tallied 10,592 cases since March. Canyon County added 123 new cases, according to Southwest District Health. Canyon County has confirmed 17,281 cases of COVID-19 total.

In all, Idaho health officials have confirmed 111,644 infections statewide. Health and Welfare has also reported 22,524 probable cases and estimates that 52,799 people have recovered from the virus.

The following counties also reported new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday: Adams (11 new, 165 total), Bannock (20 new, 3,650 total), Bear Lake (1 new, 189 total), Benewah (2 new, 335 total), Bingham (2 new, 2,208 total), Blaine (5 new, 1,422 total), Boise (2 new, 180 total), Bonner (35 new, 1,510 total), Bonneville (28 new, 7,466 total), Boundary (6 new, 241 total), Butte (4 new, 129 total), Cassia (-1 new, 2,198 total), Clearwater (2 new, 608 total), Elmore (15 new, 965 total), Franklin (2 new, 691 total), Gem (5 new, 1,053 total), Gooding (7 new, 830 total), Idaho (2 new, 801 total), Jefferson (4 new, 1,519 total), Jerome (4 new, 1,739 total), Latah (16 new, 1,992 total), Lewis (2 new, 248 total), Lincoln (2 new, 337 total), Madison (23 new, 4,569 total), Minidoka (5 new, 1,728 total), Nez Perce (28 new, 2,705 total), Oneida (4 new, 173 total), Owyhee (8 new, 764 total), Payette (16 new, 1,637 total), Shoshone (10 new, 753 total), Teton (5 new, 467 total), Twin Falls (23 new, 6,212 total), Valley (11 new, 333 total) and Washington (8 new, 737 total).


St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus health systems in Boise received their first shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, according to news releases. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine for emergency use on Friday, one week after authorizing the emergency use of another COVID-19 vaccine created by Pfizer.

According to St. Luke’s spokeswoman Anita Kissée, the health system’s air transport team delivered a total of 600 vaccines to its McCall and Wood River Valley locations Wednesday. St. Luke’s received 2,500 vaccines, Kissée said. Saint Alphonsus did not clarify how many doses it received.

Idaho health care workers began receiving the Pfizer vaccine in Rexburg on Dec. 14. To date, more than 6,500 Idahoans have been vaccinated, according to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare data.


Officials with St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus health systems told the Statesman on Wednesday that new projections show they can avoid moving to crisis standards of care over the holidays.

In the last few weeks, health care officials have repeatedly warned that Idaho’s hospitals were on the brink of becoming overwhelmed and being forced to ration care to those with the best chance of survival. A slight downturn in cases and hospitalizations may help hospitals avoid that situation, though Saint Alphonsus spokesman Mark Snider said the hospitals are expecting another wave of infections following the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.


Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 6,538, according to Health and Welfare.

Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 5,316 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 965 admissions to the ICU and 6,517 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 Dec. 22, the health system was reporting 92 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 468 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 13%.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of Dec. 22, the health system was reporting 86 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 303 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 23.7%.

Testing totals: At the end of the day Wednesday, Health and Welfare reported that 532,715 people had been tested statewide. About 21% of those have been positive for COVID-19.

Counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases: Ada 31,136, Adams 165, Bannock 3,650, Bear Lake 189, Benewah 335, Bingham 2,208, Blaine 1,422, Boise 180, Bonner 1,510, Bonneville 7,466, Boundary 241, Butte 129, Camas 42, Canyon 17,281, Caribou 271, Cassia 2,198, Clark 44, Clearwater 608, Custer 157, Elmore 965, Franklin 691, Fremont 763, Gem 1,053, Gooding 830, Idaho 801, Jefferson 1,519, Jerome 1,739, Kootenai 10,592, Latah 1,992, Lemhi 388, Lewis 248, Lincoln 337, Madison 4,569, Minidoka 1,728, Nez Perce 2,705, Oneida 173, Owyhee 764, Payette 1,637, Power 416, Shoshone 753, Teton 467, Twin Falls 6,212, Valley 333, Washington 737.