Idaho’s COVID-19 positivity rate nears 15%; state breaks case record for 3rd day in a row

Posted at 7:47 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 21:47:36-05

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

All seven of Idaho’s public health districts reported a double-digit COVID-19 test positivity rate for the week of Oct. 25-31.

The state saw its overall positivity rate increase for the seventh consecutive week to 14.7% on 28,509 tests from Oct. 25-31, according to the latest information from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The rate was 13.9% on 31,378 tests for Oct. 18-24. Idaho has not had a positivity rate below 5%, which demonstrates control over the spread of the virus, since mid-June.

South Central Public Health District had the highest positivity rate at 24%, while Eastern Idaho Public Health had the second-highest at 23.3%, which is actually down from 25.7% the previous week.

Boise-based Central District Health had the lowest rate at 10.4%, but that’s up from 9% the previous week.

For the third day in a row, Idaho broke its single-day record for new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. The state’s health districts announced a combined 921 new confirmed and 380 new probable cases for a total of 1,301 cases. That breaks the record of 1,216 set Wednesday.

Idaho’s seven-day moving average also reached an all-time high at 975.4 cases per day.

Eight new deaths were announced Thursday in Ada (1 new, 186 total), Canyon (2 new, 118 total), Lemhi (3 new, 4 total), Madison (1 new, 7 total) and Twin Falls (1 new, 53 total) counties. Idaho has lost 672 residents to the virus with a case fatality rate of about 0.96%.

The latest Lemhi County deaths included two females in their 60s and one male in his 60s, according to Eastern Idaho Public Health. EIPH says the Madison County death was a female in her 80s. Based on updated demographics from Health and Welfare, the remaining deaths included two individuals in their 50s and one in their 60s. No information was available on the latest death in Ada County.

Idaho has seen 60,321 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, plus 9,514 total probable cases. Health and Welfare estimates 31,574 of those cases have recovered.

Ada (191 new, 16,019 total) and Canyon (121 new, 10,050 total) counties added the most new confirmed cases on Thursday followed by the counties of Twin Falls (95 new, 4,194 total), Kootenai (74 new, 4,492 total), Nez Perce (60 new, 1,084 total) and Madison (46 new, 2,586 total).

The other counties reporting new confirmed cases were Adams (2 new, 66 total), Bannock (21 new, 2,008 total), Bear Lake (4 new, 79 total), Benewah (1 new, 192 total), Bingham (3 new, 1,335 total), Blaine (20 new, 915 total), Boise (5 new, 79 total), Bonner (10 new, 498 total), Bonneville (31 new, 3,947 total), Boundary (4 new, 102 total), Butte (1 new, 92 total), Camas (2 new, 38 total), Caribou (3 new, 234 total), Cassia (35 new, 1,451 total), Clearwater (7 new, 158 total), Custer (2 new, 92 total), Elmore (3 new, 439 total), Franklin (6 new, 340 total), Fremont (4 new, 492 total), Gem (14 new, 419 total), Gooding (5 new, 541 total), Idaho (5 new, 418 total), Jefferson (10 new, 866 total), Jerome (25 new, 1,160 total), Latah (16 new, 1,039 total), Lemhi (3 new, 286 total), Lewis (3 new, 95 total), Lincoln (5 new, 228 total), Minidoka (26 new, 1,215 total), Owyhee (3 new, 384 total), Payette (21 new, 1,064 total), Shoshone (6 new, 298 total), Teton (15 new, 305 total), Valley (4 new, 135 total) and Washington (9 new, 459 total).


Lemhi County’s COVID-19 risk level was elevated to critical on Thursday by the Eastern Idaho Public Health board.

The critical risk (red) level requires an active case rate of 45 cases per 10,000 population for three consecutive days, EIPH said. Lemhi includes the city of Salmon.

“Lemhi County has seen an alarming increase in active COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks, culminating in increased hospitalizations, which has tremendously stressed their hospital and healthcare providers,” EIPH said in a news release.

During October, EIPH’s region saw a steep increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Of the 64 total COVID-19 deaths reported since mid-June, 32 have been reported since Oct. 20.


A 53-year-old incarcerated man who tested positive for COVID-19 died at a Boise hospital on Thursday, according to a news release from the Idaho Department of Correction.

The man, who was given a rapid COVID-19 test that came back positive on Oct. 23, never displayed symptoms of the disease. Prior to the test, the man was diagnosed with other health conditions.

The man was transported from the Idaho State Correctional Institution to a Boise hospital at 6:49 p.m. Wednesday. He was pronounced dead at 9:23 a.m. Thursday. It’s unclear whether the death was considered related to COVID-19.


Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 2,788 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 568 admissions to the ICU and 4,123 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 Nov. 4, the health system was reporting 99 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 517 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 18%.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of Nov. 4, the health system was reporting 61 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 315 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 17.6%.

Boise School District: The district says the following schools or units have reported confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff since Nov. 3: Amity Elementary (2), Boise High (2), Capital High (1), Hawthorne Elementary (3), Hillside Junior High (1), Lowell Elementary (2), Morley Nelson Elementary (1), North Junior High (3), Riverglen Junior High (1), Riverside Elementary (1), Shadow Hills Elementary (1), South Junior High (1), Timberline High (1), West Junior High (1), Whittier Elementary (6).

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. 18-31: Centennial High (2), Eagle High (6), Meridian High (10), Mountain View High (7), Renaissance High (1), Rocky Mountain High (4), Eagle Middle (2), Heritage Middle (1), Lake Hazel Middle (2), Lewis and Clark Middle (5), Lowell Scott Middle (3), Meridian Middle (1), Sawtooth Middle (2), Star Middle (1), Victory Middle (1), Cecil D. Andrus Elementary (2), Chief Joseph School of the Arts (1), Discovery Elementary (1), Eagle Hills Elementary (1), Eliza Hart Spalding Stem Academy (1), Galileo STEM Academy (1), Hillsdale Elementary (1), McMillan Elementary (3), Meridian Elementary (2), Paramount Elementary (1), Peregrine Elementary (1), Pioneer School of the Arts (1), River Valley Elementary (3).

Testing totals: At the end of the day Thursday, Health and Welfare reported that 398,721 people had been tested statewide. About 15.1% 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 16,019, Adams 66, Bannock 2,008, Bear Lake 79, Benewah 192, Bingham 1,335, Blaine 915, Boise 79, Bonner 498, Bonneville 3,947, Boundary 102, Butte 92, Camas 38, Canyon 10,050, Caribou 234, Cassia 1,451, Clark 34, Clearwater 158, Custer 92, Elmore 439, Franklin 340, Fremont 492, Gem 419, Gooding 541, Idaho 418, Jefferson 866, Jerome 1,160, Kootenai 4,492, Latah 1,039, Lemhi 286, Lewis 95, Lincoln 228, Madison 2,586, Minidoka 1,215, Nez Perce 1,084, Oneida 68, Owyhee 384, Payette 1,064, Power 325, Shoshone 298, Teton 305, Twin Falls 4,194, Valley 135, Washington 459.