Idaho’s worrisome COVID-19 week: Nearly 5,000 cases, 44 deaths, packed hospitals

Posted at 7:39 PM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 21:39:01-04

This article was originally published by Ian Max Stevenson in the Idaho Statesman.

There are more COVID-19 patients in Idaho ICUs right now than at any point during the pandemic, and current hospitalizations are at levels not seen since last December, according to updated data from the Department of Health and Welfare.

As of Wednesday, there were 139 COVID patients in ICU units, which is higher than the Dec. 18 peak of 122. There were also 457 patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 hospitalized, which is approaching last year’s peak of 496, reached on Dec. 1.

The state added nearly 5,000 COVID-19 cases this week and 44 deaths, according to Health and Welfare. Of the eight deaths recorded on Friday, two were individuals in their 40s and one was in their 30s.

Since the week of June 13, the state positivity rate — a measure used to assess spread — has climbed every week. The week beginning Aug. 15, the most recent data available, it was 13.2%. Public health experts consider levels above 5% to indicate out-of-control spread. The week beginning July 4 was the last time the state was under 5%.

The high number of sick people has put significant strain on health care systems across the state, with officials warning that the state is close to needing to activate crisis standards of care, wherein hospitals must triage patients by directing resources to those in the most need. A major hospital in Coeur d’Alene has outfitted a makeshift patient care unit in a classroom, and the hospital’s chief physician said the facility may be only days away from asking the state to implement the crisis standards.

The public health district for the region, Panhandle, is so overwhelmed by a rash of infections that a backlog of more than 1,200 unreported cases has accumulated since late July, according to a news release.

To the south, the Idaho North Central District confirmed on Friday that the delta variant had been found in residents in Lewis and Idaho counties, according to a release. The finding indicates that the highly contagious variant that health officials believe is responsible for the current surge of cases is still spreading in the state.

On Thursday, Gov. Brad Little again pleaded with residents to get vaccinated. Since the vaccines became widely available in May, nearly all hospitalizations — particularly those requiring ICU stays — and deaths have been among those refusing to get the shots, the governor said.

As of Friday, only 48.2% of eligible Idaho residents were fully vaccinated.

“There are too many unvaccinated people in our hospitals right now,” Little said in a news release.

“Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to minimize the spread of the disease to the vulnerable. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is also the most effective way to minimize your own risk of hospitalization from the disease.”

As of Friday, there have been 9,730 hospitalizations, 1,612 admissions to the ICU and 11,503 health care workers who have been infected. The state has recorded a total of 217,886 cases.

For a county-by-county breakdown of Friday’s new cases and deaths, see our “What we know” file at


As of Friday, Health and Welfare reports that there are 3,029 active coronavirus cases among 78 facilities, which is 340 more than the 2,689 cases reported on Wednesday. There are 247 facilities with resolved outbreaks.

To date, 821 people from 182 long-term facilities in Idaho have died from COVID-19-related causes — one more than was reported Wednesday. Long-term care deaths account for about 36% of the 2,316 deaths in the state.

The most recent data from Health and Welfare show that 75.6% of Idahoans age 65 and older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Below is a list of long-term care facilities by city that have active cases of the coronavirus among residents and/or staff. For an outbreak to be considered “resolved,” more than 28 days must pass (two incubation periods) without any additional cases associated with the facility.

Blackfoot: Bingham Memorial Skilled Nursing; Boise: State Veterans Home-Boise, Aspen Valley Senior Living, Park Place Assisted Living, Edgewood Spring Creek-Overland, Cottages of Boise, Edgewood Spring Creek Ustick, Terraces of Boise, Ashley Manor-Cloverdale, Cascadia of Boise, Arbor Valley of Cascadia, Grace Assisted Living at State St., Ashley Manor-Cory Lane (formerly AarenBrooke Place), Arbor Village at Hillcrest, Brooklyn House; Desert View Care: Desert View Care; Burley: Parke View Rehab; Chubbuck: Brookdale Chubbuck; Coeur d’Alene: Ivy Court, Garden at Orchard Ridge, Pacifica Senior Living Coeur d’Alene, Advanced Health Care of Coeur d’Alene, Legends Park Assisted Living, Life Care Center of Coeur d’Alene; Eagle: Foxtail Senior Living; Emmett: Apple Valley Residence, Meadow View Assisted Living; Garden City: Emerson House at Riverpointe; Hayden: Harmony House Assisted Living;

Idaho Falls: MorningStar of Idaho Falls, Fairwinds-Sand Creek, Yellowstone Group Home #1, Lily and Syringa Assisted Living, Tambree Meadows Assisted Living; Jerome: Creekside Residential Care Center, Desano Place Assisted Living; Kuna: Communicare #5 Kuna, Swan Falls Assisted Living; Lewiston: Advanced Health Care of Lewiston, Brookdale Lewiston, Golden Girls Residential Care, Generations at Lewiston (formerly Guardian Angel), Royal Plaza-Lewiston, State Veterans Home-Lewiston, Lewiston Transitional Care of Cascadia; Meridian: Edgewood Spring Creek Meridian, Harmony Hills, Tomorrow’s Hope-Lavin, Crestwood Serenity Assisted Living, Meridian Meadows Transitional Care, Meridian Meadows Assisted Living; Montpelier: Bear Lake Memorial Skilled Nursing; Moscow: Good Samaritan Society-Moscow Village, Milestone Decisions #2 6th St;

Nampa: Grace Assisted Living-Nampa, Meadow View Nursing & Rehab, Wellspring of Cascadia, Golden Years-Maryland, Tomorrow’s Hope-Nampa; Payette: Payette Healthcare of Cascadia; Pinehurst: Pacifica Senior Living Pinehurst; Pocatello: Gateway Transitional Care Center, Brookdale Pocatello, State Veterans Home-Pocatello, Quail Ridge, Quinn Meadows Rehab & Care Center, Elegant Residential Living, Caring Hearts Assisted Living; Post Falls: Life Care of Post Falls; Preston: Heritage Senior Living; Rexburg: Temple View Transitional Care; Salmon: Discovery Rehab and Living; Sandpoint: Life Care Center of Sandpoint; Silverton: Good Samaritan Society-Silver Wood Village; Twin Falls: Serenity Transitional Care, Brookdale Twin Falls, Heritage Assisted Living, Canyons Retirement Community.


Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 1,480,615, according to Health and Welfare. Of those, 727,815 people have been fully vaccinated, which accounts for 48.2% of Idahoans age 12 and older.

Test positivity rate: Out of the 30,375 COVID-19 tests conducted for the week of Aug. 15-21, 13.2% came back positive.