Idaho has deadliest day yet and reports second-most COVID-19 cases in single day

Worldwide coronavirus cases reach 20 million
Posted at 7:46 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 21:46:30-04

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

Idaho’s unappealing record streak continued Thursday as the state reported a single-day high of 18 new coronavirus-related deaths.

Idaho has now lost 618 residents to the virus with a case fatality rate of about 0.98%. There have been 149 deaths from COVID-19 announced during the month of October. The previous single-day high was 16 deaths on Sept. 9.

The latest deaths were spread across the state in Ada (8 new, 175 total), Bonneville (2 new, 37 total), Twin Falls (2 new, 48 total), Bingham (1 new, 23 total), Canyon (1 new, 109 total), Gooding (1 new, 9 total), Kootenai (1 new, 50 total), Madison (1 new, 4 total) and Lemhi (first death) counties. Thirty-nine of Idaho’s 44 counties have lost at least one resident to the virus.

Eastern Idaho Public Health said the Bonneville County deaths were two males in their 70s, the Lemhi County death was a male in his 60s and the Madison County death was a female in her 80s. The Bingham County death was a male in his 60s, according to Southeastern Idaho Public Health.

Demographic information posted by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare indicates the remaining deaths included one person in their 40s, one person in their 60s, two people in their 70s and the rest were 80 or older.

In addition to the record number of deaths, the state’s seven public health districts reported a combined 864 new confirmed and 185 new probable cases of COVID-19 for a total of 1,049 new cases Thursday. It is the second-most cases added in a single day behind the 1,111 reported on Oct. 23.

Idaho’s seven-day moving average of new confirmed and probable cases stands at 890.6.

The largest increases came in Ada (193 new, 14,980 total), Canyon (122 new, 9,439 total), Kootenai (107 new, 4,001 total) and Twin Falls (86 new, 3,712 total) counties. It is the most cases in Canyon County since Aug. 7.

The other counties adding new confirmed cases were Adams (4 new, 56 total), Bannock (27 new, 1,812 total), Bear Lake (2 new, 69 total), Benewah (4 new, 176 total), Bingham (5 new, 1,273 total), Blaine (13 new, 856 total), Boise (2 new, 66 total), Bonner (15 new, 453 total), Bonneville (26 new, 3,638 total), Boundary (7 new, 80 total), Butte (3 new, 88 total), Camas (1 new, 35 total), Caribou (3 new, 221 total), Cassia (22 new, 1,304 total), Clearwater (1 new, 127 total), Custer (1 new, 86 total), Elmore (14 new, 398 total), Franklin (6 new, 314 total), Fremont (4 new, 454 total), Gem (7 new, 376 total), Gooding (8 new, 479 total), Idaho (3 new, 358 total), Jefferson (4 new, 818 total), Jerome (16 new, 992 total), Latah (17 new, 932 total), Lemhi (9 new, 231 total), Lewis (3 new, 80 total), Lincoln (5 new, 183 total), Madison (31 new, 2,335 total), Minidoka (22 new, 1,125 total), Nez Perce (28 new, 836 total), Oneida (2 new, 54 total), Owyhee (3 new, 366 total), Payette (9 new, 1,001 total), Power (2 new, 312 total), Shoshone (12 new, 276 total), Teton (5 new, 268 total), Valley (3 new, 11 total) and Washington (7 new, 426 total).

There have been 55,230 confirmed cases reported since the start of the pandemic along with 7,777 probable cases. Health and Welfare estimates that 29,195 of those cases have recovered.


The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported a COVID-19 positivity rate of 14.0% on 29,542 tests for the week of Oct. 18-24.

It marks the sixth straight week the positivity rate has increased, and it is the second-highest rate since the start of the pandemic. The rate was 12.2% on 28,777 tests for Oct. 11-17. Health experts say a rate below 5% indicates control over the spread of the virus.

Idaho’s highest-ever positivity rate was 14.8% on 26,467 tests for the week of July 5-11.

Six of the state’s seven public health districts saw an increase in positivity, led by Eastern Idaho Public Health’s 27.4%. Central District Health, which includes Boise and Ada County, had the lowest rate at 9%. All other health districts had a double-digit positivity rate.


Three of Panhandle Health District’s five counties have reached the “substantial” COVID-19 community transmission risk level, according to an assessment released Thursday by PHD staff and a representative from Kootenai Health.

The categories are determined using the positivity rate, hospitalizations and seven-day incidence rate of new cases. Boundary County had a seven-day incidence rate of 57.2 per 100,000, while Kootenai County had a rate of 49.8 and Shoshone a rate of 39.9 — all well above the threshold of 30 per 100,000.

As of Thursday, Kootenai Health had 41 inpatients with COVID-19, including 13 in intensive care, PHD said. In the nearby Spokane area, there were 64 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, with 19 in critical care. Kootenai Health has been operating at 90%-plus capacity for two weeks, and it has medical staff out due to illness. Kootenai Health also has been unable to fill open positions for traveling nurses.

Statewide, the other counties that are currently in the red category, according to their respective health districts, are Nez Perce, Payette, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls.

The following counties are in the orange risk category (second-highest level): Benewah, Bonner, Latah, Idaho, Canyon, Washington, Camas, Bannock, Bingham, Butte, Caribou, Franklin, Power, Lemhi and Madison.

Central District Health uses a three-category system to determine risk levels exclusively for its schools, but does not provide health risk levels for its counties. Ada and Elmore counties are in the red category for schools.


Southwest District Health released updated information on COVID-19 cases in its schools by county on Thursday.

The latest data shows 85 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 332 students or staff in quarantine because they are a close contact of a positive case. Below is a breakdown of that information by county:

Adams: 11 confirmed cases, 29 quarantine

Canyon: 58 confirmed cases, 246 quarantine

Gem: 0 confirmed cases, 21 quarantine

Owyhee: 2 confirmed cases, 6 quarantine

Payette: 8 confirmed cases, 7 quarantine

Washington: 6 confirmed cases, 23 quarantine


Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 2,549 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 546 admissions to the ICU and 3,871 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 Oct. 28, the health system was reporting 81 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 509 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 14%.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of Oct. 28, the health system was reporting 31 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 374 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 9.7%.

Boise School District: The district says the following schools or units have reported confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff since Oct. 20: Amity Elementary (2), Boise High (3), Borah High (1), District Services Center (1), Fairmont Junior High (4), Frank Church High School (3), Highlands Elementary (1), Maple Grove Elementary (2), Monroe Elementary (2), Mountain View Elementary (1), North Junior High (2), Riverglen Junior High (1), Riverside Elementary (1), Roosevelt Elementary (2), Shadow Hills Elementary (2), Timberline High (2), Trail Wind Elementary (1), West Junior High (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 the weeks of Oct. 11-24: Centennial High (4), Eagle High (3), Idaho Fine Arts Academy (1), Meridian High (13), Mountain View High (6), Renaissance High School (1), Rocky Mountain High (3), Eagle Middle (3), Heritage Middle (1), Lake Hazel Middle (2), Lowell Scott Middle (2), Meridian Middle (1), Sawtooth Middle (2), Victory Middle (1), Galileo STEM Academy (1), Hunter Elementary (1), McMillan Elementary (1), Meridian Elementary (1), Paramount Elementary (1), Prospect Elementary (1), River Valley Elementary (3).

Testing totals: At the end of the day Thursday, Health and Welfare reported that 381,008 people had been tested statewide. About 14.5% of those have been positive for COVID-19.

Counties with community spread: All counties except Adams have been announced to have community spread.

Counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases: Ada 14,980, Adams 56, Bannock 1,812, Bear Lake 69, Benewah 176, Bingham 1,273, Blaine 856, Boise 66, Bonner 453, Bonneville 3,638, Boundary 80, Butte 88, Camas 35, Canyon 9,439, Caribou 221, Cassia 1,304, Clark 33, Clearwater 127, Custer 86, Elmore 398, Franklin 314, Fremont 454, Gem 376, Gooding 479, Idaho 358, Jefferson 818, Jerome 992, Kootenai 4,001, Latah 932, Lemhi 231, Lewis 80, Lincoln 183, Madison 2,335, Minidoka 1,125, Nez Perce 836, Oneida 54, Owyhee 366, Payette 1,001, Power 312, Shoshone 276, Teton 268, Twin Falls 3,712, Valley 111, Washington 426.