Editor’s note: This story was corrected at 2:45 p.m. Jan. 21 to fix the count of new deaths reported. A file the Idaho Statesman uses to track cases and deaths was not properly updated, which led to many of Tuesday’s reported deaths being counted twice.
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Idaho reported 507 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday and 244 new probable cases, for a total of 751.
Ada County confirmed 143 new cases Wednesday, bringing the countywide total to 36,760 confirmed cases, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Signaling good news, the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have been reported at fewer than 300 people for three days in row — the first time that has happened since Oct. 31-Nov. 2. The total hospitalizations has dropped from 375 on Jan. 6 to 286 on Monday.
Canyon County confirmed 67 new cases of the virus Wednesday, bringing the countywide total to 19,659 confirmed cases, according to Southwest District Health.
Kootenai County confirmed 52 new cases, running its total to 13,411 confirmed cases, according to the Panhandle Health District.
The state’s pandemic death toll actually dropped by two as two were removed from Gem County’s total (now 26). The state has lost 1,637 residents to COVID-19-related causes.
There have been 125 COVID-related deaths in Idaho this month, according to Health and Welfare. December saw 439 deaths, and the total in November was 387. Deaths often are reported several days or more after they occur.
Since the pandemic reached Idaho, 128,750 total confirmed cases have been found statewide.
Health and Welfare has reported 28,955 probable cases of the virus and estimated that 73,517 people have recovered from COVID-19.
Other counties to report new confirmed cases Wednesday include: Nez Perce (8 new, 2,937 total), Latah (6 new, 2,276 total), Bannock (27 new, 4,274 total), Butte (2 new, 147 total), Caribou (1 new, 322 total), Oneida (2 new, 202 total), Power (1 new, 434 total), Bingham (5 new, 2,425 total), Bonneville (39 new, 4,248 total), Custer (1 new, 175 total), Fremont (1 new, 821 total), Jefferson (4 new, 1,647 total), Madison (17 new, 5,015 total), Teton (7 new, 542 total), Adams (1 new, 231 total), Gem (1 new, 1,242 total), Owyhee (2 new, 839 total), Payette (6 new, 1,808 total), Washington (5 new, 820 total), Boundary (7 new, 330 total), Bonner (30 new, 2,024 total), Shoshone (9 new, 880 total), Boise (1 new, 215 total), Elmore (6 new, 1,140 total), Valley (4 new, 529 total), Blaine (28 new, 1,627 total), Cassia (2 new, 2,357 total), Gooding (2 new, 878 total), Jerome (5 new, 1,876 total), Minidoka (4 new, 1,842 total), Twin Falls (11 new, 6,720 total).
MORE FANS FOR HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced Wednesday that he will instruct the State Board of Education to start allowing more fans into high school sporting events.
He did not present a plan or give any specifics. A news release said the State Board would announce details in “the coming days.”
High school sports already have an exemption to Idaho’s Stage 2 order, which limits gatherings to 10 people or fewer. Originally posted on Dec. 30, the exemption allows schools to have two fans per athlete of each team.
That would add up to as many as 76 spectators for a high school basketball game and 84 for a wrestling dual, the Idaho Statesman previously reported. But those numbers will grow.
Little cited declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the reason to loosen restrictions, but his announcement coincided with efforts in the Republican-dominated Legislature to end limits on gatherings. Idaho’s seven-day average of new cases dropped to 746.4 on Thursday, down from a high of 1,650.3 on Dec. 10.
“All of our decisions related to the Idaho Rebounds plan have been rooted in detailed metrics related to virus activity and impacts on our health care system,” Little said in a news release. “Thanks to the good actions of the people of Idaho to slow the spread of the virus in our communities, we are seeing a continued decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.”
Republican state legislators have pushed to loosen coronavirus restrictions and curb the governor’s emergency powers since the legislative session opened last week. Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, proposed a resolution that would lift all restrictions on gatherings. He said the goal is to have them removed before the district basketball tournaments start in late January and early February, the Idaho Statesman previously reported.
The Dec. 30 exemption required all fans to wear a facial covering unless they can sit 12 or more feet from others outside their household.
Schools in the Treasure Valley’s 5A and 4A Southern Idaho Conferences have taken a cautious approach to the exemption, opting to allow only two fans per athlete for just the home team so far. Fans are not allowed for road teams.
Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 73,209, according to Health and Welfare. Of those, 49,555 people have received only their first dose.
Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 6,406 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 1,117 admissions to the ICU and 8,284 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 Jan. 19, the health system was reporting 62 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 520 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 11%.
Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of Jan. 19, the health system was reporting 54 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 383 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 19.4%.
Testing totals: At the end of the day Wednesday, Health and Welfare reported that 583,441 people had been tested statewide. About 22.1% of those have been positive for COVID-19.
Boise School District: Reported cases since Jan. 5: Boise High (2), Borah High (4), Capital High (1), district services (4), Fairmont Junior High (1), Grace Jordan Elementary (1), Hillcrest Elementary (1), Hillside Junior High (1), Riverglen Junior High (1), Shadow Hills Elementary (1), Timberline High (3), West Junior High (1).
West Ada School District: Reported cases from Jan. 6-19: Centennial High (7), Eagle High (6), Idaho Fine Arts (1), Meridian High (1), Mountain View High (9), Rebound School of Opportunity (1), Renaissance High (2), Rocky Mountain High (3), Crossroads Middle (2), Heritage Middle (4), Lake Hazel Middle (2), Lewis and Clark Middle (2), Victory Middle (2), Christine Donnell School (1), Frontier Elementary (2), Galileo STEM Academy (1), Hillsdale Elementary (2), Hunter Elementary (2), Joplin Elementary (1), Mary McPherson Elementary (2), Pleasant View Elementary (1), Ponderosa Elementary (1), Prospect Elementary (1), Siena Elementary (1), Summerwind STEM (2), Willow Creek Elementary (1).
Counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases: Ada 36,760, Adams 231, Bannock 4,274, Bear Lake 226, Benewah 403, Bingham 2,425, Blaine 1,627, Boise 215, Bonner 2,024, Bonneville 8,248, Boundary 330, Butte 147, Camas 43, Canyon 19,659, Caribou 322, Cassia 2,357, Clark 44, Clearwater 720, Custer 175, Elmore 1,140, Franklin 785, Fremont 821, Gem 1,242, Gooding 878, Idaho 858, Jefferson 1,647, Jerome 1,876, Kootenai 13,411, Latah 2,276, Lemhi 396, Lewis 268, Lincoln 354, Madison 5,015, Minidoka 1,842, Nez Perce 2,937, Oneida 202, Owyhee 839, Payette 1,808, Power 434, Shoshone 880, Teton 542, Twin Falls 6,720, Valley 529, Washington 820.