Signs suggest Idaho’s COVID-19 surge may be slowing as state adds 800 new cases, 24 deaths

Posted at 8:12 PM, Dec 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 09:55:27-05

This article was originally written by Nicole Blanchard for the Idaho Statesman.

Idaho health officials on Monday reported more than 800 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and two dozen deaths from the illness, but some signs are suggesting that the surge of coronavirus infections in the state is slowing.

According to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare data, 12.5% of the nearly 35,000 PCR tests for COVID-19 performed from Dec. 13 to Dec. 19 were positive. That’s a decline from the previous week’s positivity rate of 15.5%, which had fallen from 19% positivity from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.

In addition, Boise-based Central District Health estimated that the two-week average incidence rate of COVID-19 infections in Ada County fell to 46 infections per 100,000 residents during the week starting Dec. 20. The previous week, the district reported an incidence rate of 66 infections per 100,000 residents, and the week prior to that the incidence rate was 85.1 infections per 100,000 residents.

That data comes as Idaho has recorded a decline in daily COVID-19 case numbers. On Monday, state and local health officials added 587 confirmed and 229 probable cases of COVID-19 statewide, for a total of 816 new cases. Though part of the decline in recent days could be attributed to reporting discrepancies over Christmas weekend, the downward trend in cases started more than two weeks ago. The state’s seven-day average of cases per day has fallen from 1,650.3 on Dec. 10 to 868.9.

A significant number of Monday’s confirmed cases came from Ada County, which added 291 new cases. Ada County has made up the bulk of confirmed cases for the last several weeks as officials work to address a data backlog. The Central District Health website showed that backlog is down to fewer than 1,000 lab reports as of Monday. To date, Ada County has confirmed 32,124 cases of COVID-19.

Idaho recorded 24 new COVID-19-related deaths on Monday. They occurred in the following counties: Ada (3 new, 338 total), Bannock (3 new, 60 total), Bonneville (4 new, 112 total), Canyon (2 new, 212 total), Gem (1 new, 19 total), Jefferson (1 new, 15 total), Kootenai (5 new, 113 total), Lincoln (1 new, 9 total), Madison (1 new, 14 total), Nez Perce (1 new, 45 total), Payette (1 new, 23 total) and Shoshone (1 new, 24 total).

Eastern Idaho Public Health noted that the Bonneville County deaths were all men — one in his 40s, two in their 70s and another in his 80s. The Madison County death was a man in his 90s, and the Jefferson County death was a woman in her 70s. According to Southeastern Public Health, the Bannock County deaths were a man in his 70s, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 60s. No additional details were given on the other deaths.

To date, 1,381 Idahoans have died of COVID-19.

The following Idaho counties also reported new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday: Adams (3 new, 181 total), Bannock (7 new, 3,729 total), Bear Lake (3 new, 193 total), Benewah (1 new, 339 total), Bingham (14 new, 2,251 total), Blaine (1 new, 1,426 total), Bonner (31 new, 1,571 total), Bonneville (17 new, 7,561 total), Boundary (2 new, 250 total), Butte (1 new, 131 total), Canyon (57 new, 17,543 total), Caribou (1 new, 275 total), Cassia (13 new, 2,225 total), Clearwater (2 new, 615 total), Custer (2 new, 159 total), Elmore (5 new, 1,008 total), Franklin (3 new, 707 total), Gem (1 new, 1,072 total), Gooding (2 new, 836 total), Idaho (2 new, 805 total), Jefferson (5 new, 1,541 total), Jerome (6 new, 1,754 total), Kootenai (36 new, 10,763 total), Latah (10 new, 2,010 total), Madison (7 new, 4,605 total), Minidoka (5 new, 1,752 total), Nez Perce (20 new, 2,740 total), Owyhee (2 new, 773 total), Payette (3 new, 1,655 total), Power (1 new, 419 total), Shoshone (5 new, 765 total), Teton (2 new, 475 total), Twin Falls (15 new, 6,258 total), Valley (10 new, 374 total) and Washington (1 new, 743 total).


Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 10,459, according to Health and Welfare.

Overall hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 5,476 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, 999 admissions to the ICU and 6,728 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 Dec. 27, the health system was reporting 79 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 432 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 13%.

Saint Alphonsus Health System: As of Dec. 27, the health system was reporting 80 patients in its hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 out of 284 patients overall. The health system reported a 14-day coronavirus test positivity rate of 23.4%.

Testing totals: At the end of the day Monday, Health and Welfare reported that 538,880 people had been tested statewide. About 21.1% of those have been positive for COVID-19.

Counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases: Ada 32,124, Adams 181, Bannock 3,729, Bear Lake 193, Benewah 339, Bingham 2,251, Blaine 1,426, Boise 184, Bonner 1,571, Bonneville 7,561, Boundary 250, Butte 131, Camas 42, Canyon 17,543, Caribou 275, Cassia 2,225, Clark 44, Clearwater 615, Custer 159, Elmore 1,008, Franklin 707, Fremont 765, Gem 1,072, Gooding 836, Idaho 805, Jefferson 1,541, Jerome 1,754, Kootenai 10,763, Latah 2,010, Lemhi 389, Lewis 250, Lincoln 338, Madison 4,605, Minidoka 1,752, Nez Perce 2,740, Oneida 174, Owyhee 773, Payette 1,655, Power 419, Shoshone 765, Teton 475, Twin Falls 6,258, Valley 374, Washington 743.