Idaho’s COVID-19 test positivity rate hits 5% after 6-week decline. Case count stays low

Posted at 7:35 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 21:35:28-04

This article was originally published by Jim Keyser in the Idaho Statesman.

Idaho on Thursday posted its lowest single-day COVID-19 case count since a Saturday in early March, but the state’s test postivity rate trended in the wrong direction.

Idaho’s daily caseload has been dwindling for weeks — just 139 cases were added Thursday — allowing for the full reopening of most businesses, large gatherings, and the lifting of mask mandates and other precautions. The state’s positivity rate also has been promising, with six straight weeks between 4.2% and 4.6%.

On Thursday, however, data for the week of May 16-22 showed a test positivity rate of 5%, right at the threshold considered a key determinant for control of coronavirus spread. According to the World Health Organization, positivity rates should be at or below 5% for at least 14 days before an area considers reopening safely. Experts say having a rate that’s under 5% shows spread of the virus is under control.

The last week in which Idaho exceeded a 5% positivity rate was March 28-April 3.

The state added two deaths Thursday, pushing the total COVID-related death toll to 2,090. Both deaths were in Ada County (472 total); data from Idaho Health and Welfare showed they were an individual in their 80s and one in their 70s.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Idaho now stands at 191,877, and there are 111,169 estimated recoveries, according to Health and Welfare.

The following counties reported new cases Thursday: Ada (32 new, 52,751 total), Bannock (1 new, 8,837 total), Benewah (2 new, 697 total), Blaine (1 new, 2,385 total), Bonner (6 new, 3,304 total), Bonneville (12 new, 14,979 total), Canyon (13 new, 27,113 total), Clearwater (2 new, 1,069 total), Elmore (3 new, 2,065 total), Franklin (2 new, 1,199 total), Gem (5 new, 1,807 total), Jefferson (1 new, 3,017 total), Jerome (1 new, 2,626 total), Kootenai (25 new, 18,528 total), Latah (1 new, 3,194 total), Madison (4 new, 7,273 total), Nez Perce (8 new, 3,678 total), Payette (3 new, 2,584 total), Shoshone (5 new, 1,144 total), Twin Falls (10 new, 9,656 total), Washington (2 new, 1,227 total).


Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 1,215,645, according to Health and Welfare. Of those, 587,836 people have been fully vaccinated.

Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 8,573 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 1,449 admissions to the ICU and 10,721 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 May 26, the health system was reporting 19 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 494 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 4%.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of May 26, the health system was reporting 35 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 388 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 5.9%.

Total COVID-19 cases by county (confirmed + probable): Ada 52,751, Adams 341, Bannock 8,837, Bear Lake 390, Benewah 697, Bingham 4,849, Blaine 2,385, Boise 364, Bonner 3,304, Bonneville 14,979, Boundary 872, Butte 211, Camas 72, Canyon 27,113, Caribou 700, Cassia 2,947, Clark 59, Clearwater 1,069, Custer 253, Elmore 2,065, Franklin 1,199, Fremont 1,136, Gem 1,807, Gooding 1,317, Idaho 1,266, Jefferson 3,017, Jerome 2,626, Kootenai 18,528, Latah 3,194, Lemhi 532, Lewis 411, Lincoln 511, Madison 7,273, Minidoka 2,342, Nez Perce 3,678, Oneida 363, Owyhee 1,077, Payette 2,584, Power 657, Shoshone 1,144, Teton 1,227, Twin Falls 9,656, Valley 847, Washington 1,227.