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Idaho reports lowest COVID-19 positivity rate in over 7 months, only 250 confirmed cases

Coronavirus
Posted at 8:23 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 22:23:54-05

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

Idaho health officials on Thursday reported 325 confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus statewide as case numbers continued to taper off following a surge late last year.

Idaho’s COVID-19 test positivity rate also continued to improve, with a mark of 6.6% on 27,665 tests reported by the Department of Health and Welfare for the week of Jan. 31-Feb. 6. That is down from 7% the previous week and is the lowest rate since last June. The next-closest rate is 6.7% from mid-September.

The state’s positivity rate has now dropped for five straight weeks since seeing a spike the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Experts say a rate below 5% demonstrates control over the spread of the virus. Idaho was last below the 5% threshold in early June, but is inching closer.

Across the state, data from Health and Welfare and local health districts showed just 250 confirmed coronavirus cases and 75 probable cases. That brings Idaho’s seven-day moving average for new combined cases down to 330 over the past week.

Officials removed one case each from Power (454 total) and Twin Falls (9,100 total) counties on Thursday.

No new COVID-19 deaths were reported a day after 11 were added to the numbers Wednesday. It’s the first time in six days that Idaho officials have not reported new deaths related to the disease. Since Feb. 1, 66 Idahoans have died of COVID-19-related causes; in all, the total is 1,793.

Other signs across the state signal some positive change in Idaho’s fight against coronavirus. ICU admissions fell below 40 people statewide on Feb. 6 and Feb. 7, the most recent dates for which data are available. Southwest District Health said in a news release Thursday that all of its counties — Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington — are out of the “red” health alert level for the first time in months. Alert levels are based on infection rate per 10,000 people.

To date, Idaho has recorded 135,814 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 31,165 probable cases. More than 88,000 people are presumed recovered from COVID-19.

The following Idaho counties reported new COVID-19 cases Thursday: Ada (68 new, 38,831 total), Bannock (20 new, 4,537 total), Benewah (4 new, 421 total), Bingham (3 new, 2,507 total), Blaine (8 new, 1,901 total), Boise (1 new, 227 total), Bonner (14 new, 2,330 total), Bonneville (14 new, 8,581 total), Boundary (2 new, 375 total), Butte (1 new, 154 total), Canyon (22 new, 20,572 total), Cassia (2 new, 2,421 total), Clearwater (1 new, 745 total), Elmore (3 new, 1,207 total), Franklin (3 new, 833 total), Fremont (1 new, 859 total), Gem (2 new, 1,317 total), Gooding (1 new, 901 total), Idaho (2 new, 875 total), Jefferson (3 new, 1,733 total), Kootenai (42 new, 14,410 total), Latah (10 new, 2,465 total), Lincoln (1 new, 370 total), Madison (4 new, 5,315 total), Minidoka (1 new, 1,884 total), Nez Perce (9 new, 3,030 total), Owyhee (3 new, 870 total), Shoshone (1 new, 928 total), Teton (1 new, 603 total) and Valley (5 new, 632 total).

IDAHO LEGISLATIVE STAFFERS TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

In a Thursday news release, Idaho House and Senate Democrats said two legislative staffers had tested positive for the virus, one of whom was working at the Capitol when they were notified of the test results.

Officials said the staffer left the Statehouse immediately upon learning of their positive test. The other staff member had not been at the Capitol since Tuesday. Both individuals wore face masks and practiced social distancing, according to the news release.

Olivia Heersink, spokesperson for the Idaho Joint Democratic Caucus, said the two staffers were not exposed to each other. They are currently in the process of doing contract tracing and notifying people who might have been exposed.

One staffer didn’t feel well Tuesday and was sent home. Another was asymptomatic and had been tested as part of a weekly test offered to staffers. Both results arrived Thursday, Heersink said. Additional testing will be available for staffers and legislators Friday and Monday.

Heersink said Democratic leaders put out a release to be transparent because “that’s what we’ve asked of the majority party.”

DAILY DETAILS

Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 213,820, according to Health and Welfare. Of those, 120,460 people have received only their first dose.

Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 6,852 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 1,201 admissions to the ICU and 9,192 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. 10, the health system was reporting 30 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 485 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 6%.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of Feb. 10, the health system was reporting 44 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 361 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 9.1%.

Testing totals: Health and Welfare reported that 619,943 people had been tested statewide. About 21.9% of those have been positive for COVID-19.

Boise School District: Reported positive cases since Feb. 2: Boise High (1), Borah High (7), Capital High (5), Dennis Technical Education Center (1), Fairmont Junior High (2), Garfield Elementary (1), Hidden Springs Elementary (1), Highlands Elementary (1), Hillside Junior High (1), Horizon Elementary (1), Les Bois Junior High (2), Liberty Elementary (1), Lowell Elementary (1), Maple Grove Elementary (1), River Glen Junior High (1), Riverside Elementary (1), Timberline High (1), Trail Wind Elementary (7), West Junior High (1).

West Ada School District: Reported cases from Jan. 29-Feb. 11: Centennial High (2), Eagle Academy (1), Eagle High (2), Eagle Middle (2), Heritage Middle (1), Lake Hazel Middle (2), Lewis and Clark Middle (1), Lowell Scott Middle (1), Meridian Middle (1), Sawtooth Middle (1), Star Middle (1), Victory Middle (1), Desert Sage Elementary (2), Discovery Elementary (2), Hillsdale Elementary (1), Mary McPherson Elementary (1), River Valley Elementary (2), Seven Oaks Elementary (2), Siena Elementary (1), Silver Sage Elementary (1).

Counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases: Ada 38,831, Adams 245, Bannock 4,537, Bear Lake 243, Benewah 421, Bingham 2,507, Blaine 1,901, Boise 227, Bonner 2,330, Bonneville 8,581, Boundary 375, Butte 154, Camas 52, Canyon 20,572, Caribou 327, Cassia 2,421, Clark 44, Clearwater 745, Custer 175, Elmore 1,207, Franklin 833, Fremont 859, Gem 1,317, Gooding 901, Idaho 875, Jefferson 1,733, Jerome 1,941, Kootenai 14,410, Latah 2,465, Lemhi 395, Lewis 275, Lincoln 370, Madison 5,315, Minidoka 1,884, Nez Perce 3,030, Oneida 212, Owyhee 870, Payette 1,874, Power 454, Shoshone 928, Teton 603, Twin Falls 6,900, Valley 632, Washington 842.