This article was originally published by Ruth Brown and Mike Lycklama at the Idaho Statesman.
Local health districts reported five new deaths on Monday, four in Ada County and one in Twin Falls County, as the statewide number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases grew by 309.
That was an increase from Sunday, when the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported just 217 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Both of those numbers are improvements over last week’s increase in cases.
Ada County saw just 23 new cases of the virus Monday, bringing its total to 7,594 confirmed cases, according to Central District Health. Canyon County had by far the most new cases, with 84, bringing its total to 4,780, according to Southwest District Health.
Statewide, the total number is 20,457 people confirmed to have the disease since the pandemic reached Idaho in March. The death toll is now 202, with 54 of those reported over the past seven days.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare on Monday also reported 1,303 “probable cases” across the state. Of the confirmed cases, 7,617 people are “presumed” to have recovered.
The number of infected health care workers increased by 19, with the total now 1,271 health professionals who have contracted the virus.
Other counties that reported cases of the virus Monday were: Nez Perce 2 new (117 total), Latah 10 new (83 total), Boise 1 new (32 total), Gem 3 new (144 total), Owyhee 4 new (220 total), Payette 12 new (314 total), Washington 1 new (178 total), Kootenai 25 new (1,592 total), Benewah 6 new (47 total), Bonner 1 new (148 total), Boundary 1 new (35 total), Shoshone lost 2 (72 total), Twin Falls 34 new (1,125 total), Blaine 2 new (556 total), Cassia 9 new (437 total), Minidoka 12 new (413 total), Jerome 9 new (385 total), Gooding 7 new (129 total), Lincoln 1 new (47 total), Bonneville 26 new (645 total), Jefferson 3 new (122 total), Teton 1 new (57 total), Bannock 11 new (334 total), Bingham 18 new (225 total), Power 5 new (52 total), Franklin 1 new (42 total) Caribou 1 less (28 total)
CENTRAL DISTRICT HEALTH SCHOOL DISTRICTS
On Monday afternoon, Central District Health released its community spread categories for the school districts in the four counties it has jurisdiction over: Ada, Elmore, Boise and Valley.
The three school districts in Ada County — Boise, Kuna and West Ada — are all deemed Category 3, or “red,” meaning there is a substantial risk of community transmission. The recommendation is that schools be closed and remote learning be conducted in this phase.
In this category, the source of exposure for outbreaks and clusters is not able to be determined and there are multiple facility outbreaks with multiple people being exposed, according to Central District Health. In Category 3, cases are being seen in communal settings such as churches and day cares. Health care facilities are experiencing “impact levels that do not demonstrate a trend toward stabilization or decline at this time.”
Ada County joins Canyon, Gem and Owyhee counties in Category 3 (red). Southwest District Health ruled all three of those regions in the highest category last week.
That prompted the Nampa School District to delay the start of the school year one week and move all classes online for at least two weeks. But the Vallivue School District showed the health district’s ruling is not binding by planning to open despite the health district’s ruling. It will use an alternate-day schedule for its middle and high schools, and a four-day-a-week schedule for elementary schools.
Both the Boise and West Ada school boards have meetings scheduled for Tuesday to decide how best to open schools.
Central District Health said all schools in Boise, Elmore and Valley counties remain in Category 2 (yellow), which comes with a host of recommendations, from full opening to modified schedules to closures. This category means there is a mild to moderate risk of community transmission.
The following school districts are in Category 2: Basin School, Garden Valley, Horseshoe Bend, Glenns Ferry, Mountain Home, Cascade and McCall-Donnelly.
At 4 p.m. Tuesday, the Central District Health Board of Health will hold a meeting to discuss its category designations for school districts. Residents may watch the board meeting online, on the Central District Health YouTube channel.
Hospitalizations: Health and Welfare reports that there have been 886 hospitalizations because of the coronavirus, 256 admissions to the ICU and 1,271 health care workers who have been infected. The hospital and health care numbers are based on cases with completed investigations into contacts, not the full number of positives.
Testing totals: At the end of the day Monday, Health and Welfare reported that 186,475 tests had been completed statewide. About 10.97% of those have been positive for COVID-19.
Counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases: Ada 7,594, Adams 17, Bannock 334, Bear Lake 12, Benewah 47, Bingham 225, Blaine 556, Boise 32, Bonner 148, Bonneville 645, Boundary 35, Camas 1, Canyon 4,780, Caribou 28, Cassia 437, Clark 3, Clearwater 14, Custer 7, Elmore 195, Franklin 42, Fremont 54, Gem 144, Gooding 129, Idaho 29, Jefferson 122, Jerome 385, Kootenai 1,592, Latah 83, Lemhi 11, Lincoln 47, Madison 107, Minidoka 413, Nez Perce 117, Oneida 10, Owyhee 220, Payette 314, Power 52, Shoshone 72, Teton 57, Twin Falls 1,125, Valley 44 and Washington 178
Counties with community spread: Ada, Bannock, Bear Lake, Benewah, Bingham, Blaine, Boise, Bonner, Bonneville, Boundary, Canyon, Caribou, Cassia, Clark, Clearwater, Custer, Elmore, Fremont, Gem, Gooding, Idaho, Jefferson, Jerome, Kootenai, Latah, Lemhi, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Minidoka, Nez Perce, Oneida, Owyhee, Payette, Power, Shoshone, Teton, Twin Falls, Valley and Washington.