Idaho counts nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 cases, 21 new deaths; ICU cases hit record again

Posted at 9:04 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 23:04:49-05

This article was originally published by Jacob Scholl and Ruth Brown in the Idaho Statesman.

Idaho reported 744 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 239 new probable cases Monday, for a total of 983 new cases reported in one day.

Ada County reported 245 new confirmed cases, surpassing 30,000 confirmed infections in the county, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The state also reported five new COVID-19-related deaths in Ada County.

Canyon County reported 99 new confirmed cases Monday and one new COVID-19-related death, according to Southwest District Health.

Kootenai County reported 110 new confirmed cases, according to Health and Welfare. Kootenai County’s total number of confirmed infections now sits at 10,167 people.

Twenty-one new deaths were reported Monday due to COVID-19-related causes. Those deaths included three in Bonneville County, three in Bannock County, two in Bingham County, five in Ada County, and two in Kootenai County. Fremont, Nez Perce, Clearwater, Canyon, Valley and Twin Falls counties each reported one new death.

That brings the statewide death toll to 1,305 people. In December alone, Idaho has added 368 COVID-19-related deaths to its total.

Idaho’s updated hospitalization data Monday showed a record 122 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Idaho ICUs. A federal government report said Idaho used an average of 79% of its adult ICU capacity last week. Nearly half of the utilized ICU beds were taken by COVID-19 patients.

Health and Welfare released its weekly cornavirus in schools update Monday. For the week of Dec. 14-20, 198 cases of the coronavirus were identified in K-12 schools statewide.

Since the pandemic reached Idaho, the state has reported 109,232 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Health and Welfare has reported 21,775 probable cases of the coronavirus statewide (239 new) and estimated that 51,421 people have recovered from the virus.

Other counties to confirm new cases of coronavirus on Monday include: Nez Perce (37 new, 2,670 total), Latah (18 new, 1,956 total), Idaho (12 new, 794 total), Clearwater (6 new, 603 total), Lewis (5 new, 246 total), Bannock (24 new, 3,592 total), Bear Lake (5 new, 185 total), Bingham (8 new, 2,187 total), Franklin (4 new, 676 total), Power (1 new, 414 total), Bonner (12 new, 1,418 total), Shoshone (14 new, 723 total), Elmore (21 new, 941 total), Valley (11 new, 307 total), Boise (3 new, 176 total), Adams (15 new, 152 total), Gem (7 new, 1,040 total), Owyhee (2 new, 756 total), Payette (2 new, 1,612 total), Washington (5 new, 726 total), Bonneville (33 new, 7,401 total), Fremont (2 new, 762 total), Jefferson (6 new, 1,513 total), Lemhi (1 new, 386 total), Madison (10 new, 4,537 total), Teton (2 new, 461 total), Blaine (-2 new, 1,414 total), Cassia (8 new, 2,195 total), Gooding (2 new, 820 total), Jerome (-2 new, 1,730 total), Lincoln (1 new, 334 total), Minidoka (10 new, 1,718 total), Twin Falls (7 new, 6,176 total).


Starting next Monday — Dec. 28 — CVS Health will start to administer COVID-19 vaccines to 76 assisted living and skilled nursing facilities around Idaho, according to a news release from the company.

CVS is one of two nationwide providers picked by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to administer the coronavirus vaccine. That rollout begins with long-term care facilities, as CVS’s health care providers will help administer immunizations.

After providing vaccines to care facilities, the company will also provide immunizations to the general public at thousands of CVS Pharmacy locations across the country in 2021.


All Idaho State University students, faculty and staff must be screened for COVID-19 ahead of the spring semester.

The tests will be free and require only a saliva sample, according to a news release from the university. The new return-to-campus program will focus on tracking asymptomatic people on campus, as well as continue to test and monitor those showing symptoms.

ISU’s mask requirement on campus will continue, as the testing requirement will not replace the mandate on face coverings.

If someone tests positive, the university will contact the individual and provide further instruction for self-isolation, contact tracing or follow-up care. Faculty and staff who fully work remotely and will not physically interact with others on campus do not need to be screened.

On-campus screening will take place with walk-up and drive-thru options at all ISU campuses, including in Pocatello, Meridian and Idaho Falls. Arrangements will be made for those students and staff in Twin Falls and Anchorage, Alaska.


As of Dec. 18, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office reported that it has tested 3,088 inmates in its custody and 373 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Since the first confirmed test in July, 349 of those 373 inmates with the virus have made it through the quarantine period and no longer need COVID-19 precautions inside the jail or have been released from the jail, according to the sheriff’s blog.

“Our staff has performed a total of 3,088 COVID-19 tests on inmates since the beginning of the pandemic — covering 1,987 individual people. Every inmate in the jail is provided with face coverings — which they are supposed to wear at all times unless they are in their bunks,” according to the blog. “Our agency is working closely with Central District Health on our response. It appears the vast majority of cases are asymptomatic or showing mild symptoms.”

Every jail deputy and staff member is screened for COVID-19 symptoms at the beginning of their shift and masks are required to be worn in the facility.


Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 4,348, according to Health and Welfare.

Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 5,208 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 948 admissions to the ICU and 6,327 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. 20, the health system was reporting 102 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 440 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 13%.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of Dec. 20, the health system was reporting 88 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 392 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 24.5%.

Boise School District: The district says the following schools or units have reported confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff since Dec. 15: Adams Elementary (1), Boise High (2), District Services (1), Frank Church High School (1), Hawthorne Elementary (1), Liberty Elementary (1), Longfellow Elementary (1), Maple Grove Elementary (1), Trail Wind Elementary (1), West Junior High (1), Whitney Elementary (1), Whittier Elementary (1).

West Ada School District: The district says the following schools or units have reported confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff for Dec. 7-20: Centennial High (2), Eagle Academy (1), Eagle High (9), Idaho Fine Arts (1), Meridian High (8), Mountain View High (5), Renaissance High (1), Rocky Mountain High (9), Virtual School House-High (1), Crossroads Middle (1), Eagle Middle (1), Heritage Middle (3), Lake Hazel Middle (1), Lewis and Clark Middle (1), Lowell Scott Middle (1), Sawtooth Middle (3), Star Middle (1), Victory Middle (2), Barbara Morgan STEM (2), Andrus Elementary (1), Chaparral Elementary (1), Chief Joseph School of the Arts (1), Christine Donnell (2), Discovery Elementary (1), Eagle Hills Elementary (3), Hunter Elementary (1), Joplin Elementary (3), Mary McPherson Elementary (1), McMillan Elementary (4), Meridian Elementary (1), Peregrine Elementary (3), Ponderosa Elementary (2), Siena Elementary (1), Star Elementary (2), Willow Creek Elementary (3).

Testing totals: At the end of the day Monday, Health and Welfare reported that 528,495 people had been tested statewide. About 20.7% of those have been positive for COVID-19.

Counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases: Ada 30,023, Adams 152, Bannock 3,592, Bear Lake 185, Benewah 322, Bingham 2,187, Blaine 1,414, Boise 176, Bonner 1,418, Bonneville 7,401, Boundary 228, Butte 121, Camas 42, Canyon 17,067, Caribou 271, Cassia 2,195, Clark 44, Clearwater 603, Custer 157, Elmore 941, Franklin 676, Fremont 762, Gem 1,040, Gooding 820, Idaho 794, Jefferson 1,513, Jerome 1,730, Kootenai 10,167, Latah 1,956, Lemhi 386, Lewis 246, Lincoln 334, Madison 4,537, Minidoka 1,718, Nez Perce 2,670, Oneida 169, Owyhee 756, Payette 1,612, Power 414, Shoshone 723, Teton 461, Twin Falls 6,176, Valley 307, Washington 726.