This article was originally published by Jacob Scholl and Ruth Brown in the Idaho Statesman.
Idaho reported 727 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Thursday and 279 new probable cases, for a total of 1,006 new cases reported in one day. The state also reported 17 new deaths.
Idaho showed a sign of improvement Thursday as the state’s test positivity rate for the week of Jan. 3-9 dropped to 11.4%, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. That’s down from 15.7% the prior week, and Idaho’s lowest rate since Oct. 4-10.
Ada County reported 226 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus Thursday, bringing the countywide total to 35,943 confirmed infections, according to Health and Welfare. The county’s positivity rate was 10.8% last week.
Canyon County saw a modest decrease, confirming 66 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 19,197 confirmed infections, according to Southwest District Health. The county positivity rate was 14.5% last week.
Kootenai County reported 143 new confirmed cases, bringing the countywide total to 13,074 confirmed infections, according to the Panhandle Health District.
Seventeen newly reported deaths were recorded Thursday due to COVID-19-related causes. The state death toll is now at 1,593 people.
Thursday’s reported deaths included two in Minidoka County, two in Clearwater County, three in Canyon County and two in Ada County. Power, Bannock, Bonner, Owyhee, Washington, Blaine, Gooding and Jerome counties each gained one new death.
Since the pandemic reached Idaho, a total of 125,879 infections have been confirmed statewide.
Health and Welfare has reported 27,607 probable cases and estimated that 69,406 people have recovered from the virus.
Other counties to confirm new cases of the coronavirus Thursday include: Nez Perce (13 new, 2,903 total), Latah (23 new, 2,248 total), Idaho (10 new, 851 total), Clearwater (3 new, 645 total), Bannock (53 new, 4,167 total),Oneida (2 new, 194 total), Power (3 new, 428 total), Bingham (4 new, 2,390 total), Franklin (1 new, 773 total), Adams (4 new, 225 total), Gem (3 new, 1,211 total), Owyhee (3 new, 828 total), Payette (7 new, 1,775 total), Washington (3 new, 800 total), Elmore (5 new, 1,105 total), Valley (8 new, 489 total), Bonneville (22 new, 8,089 total), Custer (1 new, 171 total), Fremont (1 new, 807 total), Jefferson (5 new, 1,626 total), Madison (34 total, 4,914 total), Teton (3 new, 518 total), Shoshone (6 new, 862 total), Benewah (1 new, 391 total), Bonner (28 new, 1,903 total), Boundary (3 new, 310 total), Blaine (16 new, 1,534 total), Cassia (10 new, 2,338 total), Gooding (1 new, 870 total), Jerome (1 new, 1,857 total), Minidoka (3 new, 1,826 total), Twin Falls (12 new, 6,647 total).
ST. LUKE’S OPENS COVID-19 VACCINE APPOINTMENTS FOR THOSE WHO QUALIFY
St. Luke’s Health System has opened more appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine to those who are eligible to receive one.
As of Thursday, those eligible for the vaccine fall into the state’s priority Groups 1 and 2.1. Those in Group 1 include all health care workers and staff or residents at long-term care facilities. Those in Group 2.1 are first responders such as police and firefighters; coroners or medical examiners; Pre-K-12 school staff and teachers; daycare workers; and those who work in correctional or detention facilities. Those who work for child welfare services, as well as community food, housing and relief services, are also included in Group 2.1.
Only those who fall into eligible groups may sign up for a vaccination at this time, according to a news release from St. Luke’s. Those who schedule an appointment for a vaccine must provide proof of employment, as those who cannot provide proof they are in the outlined categories will not receive the immunization.
Appointments can be scheduled online through myChart. Those who have not used a St. Luke’s facility in the past can set up an account for myChart by calling 208-381-9000. If you cannot use myChart, appointments can be made over the phone by calling St. Luke’s Connect at 208-381-9500.
St. Luke’s will open appointments as vaccines are received, so those eligible should check back if appointment spots are filled.
Those who qualify for vaccines through Central District Health — which covers Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties — should contact their employer before signing up for a vaccine through St. Luke’s. Some employers, like school districts, are already making plans to obtain immunizations.
Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 46,703 according to Health and Welfare. Of those, 28,918 people have received only their first dose.
Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 6,225 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 1,091 admissions to the ICU and 7,982 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. 13, the health system was reporting 63 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 470 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 14%.
Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of Jan. 13, the health system was reporting 79 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 381 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 22.3%.
Testing totals: At the end of the day Thursday, Health and Welfare reported that 571,813 people had been tested statewide. About 22% of those have been positive for COVID-19.
West Ada School District: Reported cases between Dec. 31 and Jan. 13: Centennial High (8), Eagle High (4), Meridian High (4), Mountain View High (8), Renaissance High (4), Rocky Mountain High (5), Crossroads Middle (2), Heritage Middle (6), Lake Hazel Middle (5), Lewis and Clark Middle (3), Lowell Scott Middle (4), Meridian Middle (4), Sawtooth Middle (1), Star Middle (1), Christine Donnell School (1), Desert Sage Elementary (1), Discovery Elementary (1), Frontier Elementary (3), Galileo STEM Academy (1), Hillsdale Elementary (1), Hunter Elementary (2), Joplin Elementary (1), Meridian Elementary (1), Paramount Elementary (1), Pioneer School of the Arts (1), Ponderosa Elementary (1), Prospect Elementary (1), Siena Elementary (1), Summerwind STEM (1), Willow Creek Elementary (1).
Counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases: Ada 35,943, Adams 225, Bannock 4,167, Bear Lake 224, Benewah 391, Bingham 2,390, Blaine 1,534, Boise 197, Bonner 1,903, Bonneville 8,089, Boundary 310, Butte 144, Camas 42, Canyon 19,197, Caribou 307, Cassia 2,338, Clark 44, Clearwater 645, Custer 171, Elmore 1,105, Franklin 773, Fremont 807, Gem 1,211, Gooding 870, Idaho 851, Jefferson 1,626, Jerome 1,857, Kootenai 13,074, Latah 2,248, Lemhi 396, Lewis 264, Lincoln 352, Madison 4,914, Minidoka 1,826, Nez Perce 2,903, Oneida 194, Owyhee 828, Payette 1,775, Power 428, Shoshone 862, Teton 518, Twin Falls 6,647, Valley 489, Washington 800.