Idaho hits 4,000 COVID deaths

by Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

On Wednesday, Idaho surpassed 4,000 recorded deaths due to COVID-19. 

The state hit 3,000 deaths on Sept. 28, meaning the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare recorded 1,000 additional COVID deaths in just 72 days. 

In comparison, it took 263 days for Idaho to hit its first 1,000 deaths – a milestone the state reached on Dec. 2, 2020. From there, it took 132 days to record its next thousand, and 168 days to get from 2,000 to 3,000 deaths.

The 4,000th death came as the statewide test positivity rate, or percentage of tests that come back positive, ticked up slightly to 7.1 percent after weeks of decline. 

This comes after weeks of falling rates, and may be due at least in part to Thanksgiving gatherings in late November. And on Friday afternoon, Central District Health announced it the first recorded case of the highly transmissible Omicron variant in an Ada County resident who had recently traveled out of state.

The patient has experienced mild symptoms, likely because they are fully vaccinated.

The positivity rate continues to vary by region, with 11.8 percent in East Idaho Public Health District, and 5.6 in Central District Health. Hospitalizations have stayed roughly steady, and statewide ICU admissions are dropping slightly.

The Panhandle Health District remains under crisis standards of care.

Updated at 5 pm Friday, Dec. 10 to reflect a newly discovered case of the Omicron variant in Idaho.

<strong>Melissa Davlin</strong> | Lead Producer
Melissa Davlin | Lead Producer

Host Melissa Davlin comes from the world of print news. She studied English at the University of Idaho and put those narrative skills to work at the Twin Falls Times-News. She has covered the Idaho Legislature since 2012, breaking major stories and keeping the residents of Idaho informed and engaged with their legislature. Davlin believes in making Idaho politics more accessible to citizens while providing historical perspectives and in-depth analysis on big-picture implications. She has received multiple awards for her work, including the 2015 Broadcast Reporter of the Year from the Idaho Press Club.

Ruth Brown contributed to this report.

<strong>Ruth Brown</strong> | Producer
Ruth Brown | Producer

Ruth Brown grew up in South Dakota and her first job out of college was covering the South Dakota Legislature. She’s since moved on to Idaho lawmakers. Brown spent 10 years working in print journalism, including newspapers such as the Idaho Statesman and Idaho Press, as well as a paper in southern California. She’s covered everything from the correctional system to health care issues. She joined Idaho Reports in 2021 and looks forward to telling stories about how state policy can impact the lives of regular Idahoans.

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