Since mid-December, weekly coronavirus cases have fallen sharply across the state, week in and week out.

That trend reversed this week, but slightly.

On Friday afternoon, the state and its seven health districts reported 171,039 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases, a 1.1 percent increase from last week.

The slight uptick in cases was hardly across the board.

Four counties — Ada, Canyon, Kootenai and Bonneville — accounted for more than half of the new cases.

Infection rates increased in several large counties, with sharp increases in Bonneville and Madison counties, and a slight increase in Ada County.

But across wide swaths of the state, case numbers were flat. Half of the state’s 44 cases reported fewer than 10 new cases; Camas, Clark and Washington counties reported no new cases.

Other key metrics were mixed. Deaths increased slightly, but new hospitalizations decreased and the state’s positive test rate continued its sharp decline. Vaccination numbers decreased slightly.

In other coronavirus headlines from the week:

A new vaccine on the way. On Friday, a Food and Drug Administration panel has recommended authorizing Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine. How would a third vaccine affect the rollout in Idaho? State officials have said this new, single-dose vaccine could reach Idaho as early as next week.

In-person learning update. Idaho Falls will join several other large school districts on March 8, as it makes the transition back to full-time, face-to-face instruction. (Click here for the latest on school reopenings.)

Spring school tests. On Monday, the Biden administration said it will expect states to administer standardized tests this year. States can offer shorter tests and online assessments, and they can give the tests in the summer or fall. In addition, schools won’t be held accountable for the test scores.

Here are this week’s numbers, and comparisons with the previous week:

Statewide data Feb. 19 Feb. 26 Change, Feb. 13-19 Change, Feb. 20-26
Cases, confirmed and probable 169,062 171,039 1,710 1,977
Total cases, ages 0-4 2,503 2,539 26 36
Total cases, ages 5-12 6,166 6,257 87 91
Total cases, ages 13-17 9,553 9,700 137 147
Total cases, ages 18-29 42,108 42,629 411 521
Deaths 1,826 1,860 27 34
Patients ever hospitalized 6,973 7,065 98 92
Patients ever admitted to ICU 1,219 1,229 15 10
Patients recovered, estimated 91,637 93,975 2,511 2,338
Total tests administered 1,056,739 1,080,708 23,916 23,969
Health care workers infected 9,406 9,558 175 152
Idahoans vaccinated 205,152 233,241 33,548 28,089
Idahoans fully vaccinated (two doses) 80,389 113,152 29,820 32,763
Vaccine doses administered 285,541 346,393 63,368 60,852

Weekly positive test rate, as reported by the state: 5.1 percent for week ending Feb. 20, down from 5.4 percent the previous week.

Top 10 counties, by total cases Feb. 19 Feb. 26 New cases, Feb. 20-26 New cases per day, per 100,000 population
Ada 46,162 46,696 534 15.8
Canyon 24,497 24,693 196 12.2
Kootenai 16,449 16,629 180 15.5
Bonneville 11,878 12,126 248 29.8
Twin Falls 8,948 8,996 48 7.9
   
Bannock 7,758 7,862 104 16.9
Madison 6,172 6,329 157 56.5
Bingham 4,192 4,239 47 14.3
Nez Perce 3,337 3,352 15 5.3
Bonner 2,935 2,969 34 10.6
   
Ten hotspot counties (most daily cases, per 100,000 population) Feb. 19 Feb. 26 New cases, Feb. 20-26 New cases per day, per 100,000 population
Madison 6,172 6,329 157 56.5
Benewah 575 609 34 52.2
Bonneville 11,878 12,126 248 29.8
Latah 2,643 2,723 80 28.5
Jefferson 2,390 2,444 54 25.8
Fremont 983 1,006 23 25.0
Boundary 804 820 16 18.7
Bannock 7,758 7,862 104 16.9
Adams 325 330 5 16.6
Butte 197 200 3 16.5
Kevin Richert

About Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on KIVI 6 On Your Side; “Idaho Reports” on Idaho Public Television; and “Idaho Matters” on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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