Idaho’s COVID-19 positivity rate drops for third straight week, 7-day average also dips

Posted at 8:20 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 22:20:20-05

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

Idaho’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has decreased for the third week in a row.

On Thursday, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported a rate of 8.3% on 29,286 tests for the week of Jan. 17-23. It is the lowest statewide positivity rate since mid-September, but still above the 5% threshold that experts say shows control over the spread of the virus.

Idaho hasn’t reached a positivity rate below 5% since last June.

Five of the state’s seven public health districts saw a drop in positivity from the previous week. Boise-based Central District Health had the lowest rate, at 6.3%. Southeastern Idaho Public Health was the only district to experience an increase, going from 6.2% to 7.2%. Eastern Idaho Public Health’s rate remained at 10.1%. Panhandle Health District had the highest rate, at 11.9%.

Southwest District Health, which includes the cities of Nampa and Caldwell, checked in with a rate of 9.7%.

Health and Welfare and the state’s public health districts added 335 new confirmed cases and 184 new probable cases for a total of 519 cases Thursday. It marked the ninth straight day Idaho has reported less than 1,000 new cases.

Idaho’s seven-day moving average dipped to 496.3 cases per day, its first time below 500 since early October.

Nine new coronavirus-related deaths were added to the state’s total between Ada (4 new, 410 total), Bannock (1 new, 84 total), Bonner (1 new, 27 total) and Kootenai (3 new, 167 total) counties. One COVID-19 death was removed from Idaho County (17 total).

Idaho has lost 1,724 residents to the virus, with a case fatality rate of about 1.07%.

Ada (93 new, 37,653 total), Canyon (54 new, 20,067 total), Kootenai (54 new, 13,890 total), Blaine (16 new, 1,750 total), Bonner (16 new, 2,146 total), Bannock (11 new, 4,368 total) and Bonneville (11 new, 8,365 total) counties each saw their confirmed case totals increase by double digits.

Blaine County announced that its COVID-19 risk level has reached “critical.” The county’s positivity rate sits at 13.08%. Blaine County was the hardest-hit site last winter when the pandemic reached Idaho, largely because of travel to Sun Valley’s ski resorts.

The other counties adding new confirmed cases were Bingham (6 new, 2,469 total), Boundary (2 new, 346 total), Caribou (1 new, 326 total), Cassia (3 new, 2,374 total), Clearwater (2 new, 740 total), Elmore (3 new, 1,165 total), Fremont (1 new, 838 total), Gem (6 new, 1,278 total), Gooding (1 new, 890 total), Idaho (1 new, 868 total), Jefferson (2 new, 1,674 total), Jerome (2 new, 1,899 total), Latah (8 new, 2,350 total), Lincoln (1 new, 367 total), Madison (8 new, 5,108 total), Minidoka (3 new, 1,865 total), Nez Perce (5 new, 2,988 total), Oneida (2 new, 206 total), Owyhee (2 new, 848 total), Payette (6 new, 1,841 total), Shoshone (4 new, 906 total), Teton (2 new, 574 total), Twin Falls (5 new, 6,808 total), Valley (4 new, 571 total), Washington (1 new, 834 total).

Health and Welfare removed one case from Bear Lake County (233 total).

Since the pandemic reached Idaho, there have been 131,795 confirmed cases overall, plus 30,038 probable cases. Health and Welfare estimates that 80,252 cases have recovered.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Thursday announced a new executive order that will require public health districts and health care providers to report how many vaccine doses they receive, how many they administer and how many they have waiting in their inventories.

The executive order says that “delays with data reporting has left Idahoans without a clear picture as to whether Idaho’s health providers are administering the doses quickly after the (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) provides the doses” to them. The order “is necessary to improve transparency for Idaho and ensure a more timely and efficient distribution and administration of vaccine doses that the CDC allocates to Idaho,” it says.

It requires health care providers to report how many doses the public health district allocates to them, on a weekly basis; how many doses they have administered, on a daily basis; and how many doses they have stored in their inventory, on a daily basis.

The state currently reports doses administered based on data entered into the Idaho Immunization Reminder Information System, which can take up to 72 hours to update. Data also are reported to the CDC, but there is currently no available data source for the number of doses in a health care provider’s inventory.

The state will start to make the information public starting on Feb. 8, the executive order says.


Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 108,364, according to Health and Welfare. Of those, 70,316 people have received only their first dose.

Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 6,629 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 1,157 admissions to the ICU and 8,728 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. 27, the health system was reporting 43 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 503 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 9%.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of Jan. 27, the health system was reporting 55 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 15.9%.

Testing totals: At the end of the day Thursday, Health and Welfare reported that 599,636 people had been tested statewide. About 22% of those have been positive for COVID-19.

Boise School District: Reported positive cases since Jan. 19: Boise High (1), Borah High (3), Capital High (4), East Junior High (3), Garfield Elementary (1), Hawthorne Elementary (1), Hillside Junior High (2), Monroe Elementary (1), Pierce Park Elementary (1), Riverside Elementary (1), Shadow Hills Elementary (3), South Junior High (3), West Junior High (1), Whittier Elementary (1).

West Ada School District: Reported cases from Jan. 14-27: Centennial High (5), Eagle Academy (1), Eagle High (3), Idaho Fine Arts (1), Meridian High (1), Mountain View High (8), Rebound School of Opportunity (1), Rocky Mountain High (2), Eagle Middle (2), Heritage Middle (1), Lowell Scott Middle (2), Meridian Middle (1), Star Middle (1), Desert Sage Elementary (1), Frontier Elementary (1), Hillsdale Elementary (1), Paramount Elementary (1), Pioneer School of the Arts (1), Seven Oaks Elementary (1), Siena Elementary (1), Silver Sage Elementary (1), Summerwind STEM (1).

Counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases: Ada 37,653, Adams 237, Bannock 4,368, Bear Lake 233, Benewah 412, Bingham 2,469, Blaine 1,750, Boise 219, Bonner 2,146, Bonneville 8,365, Boundary 346, Butte 149, Camas 48, Canyon 20,067, Caribou 326, Cassia 2,374, Clark 44, Clearwater 740, Custer 175, Elmore 1,165, Franklin 801, Fremont 838, Gem 1,278, Gooding 890, Idaho 868, Jefferson 1,674, Jerome 1,899, Kootenai 13,890, Latah 2,350, Lemhi 395, Lewis 271, Lincoln 367, Madison 5,108, Minidoka 1,865, Nez Perce 2,988, Oneida 206, Owyhee 848, Payette 1,841, Power 439, Shoshone 906, Teton 574, Twin Falls 6,808, Valley 571, Washington 834.