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Idaho may once again be kept in Stage 4 of reopening plan

KTVB tracked the metrics the state uses to determine if Idaho will move out of Stage 4. Some of the data isn't made available to the public though.

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho has been in Stage 4 of the state's reopening plan since mid-June, having failed multiple times to meet the metrics to completely reopen the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.

KTVB looked at the data using the state’s coronavirus website and the data from the public health districts to determine if Idaho will move on.

According to the state's official coronavirus website, Idaho must meet criteria in three different categories: syndromic, epidemiologic and health care.

Here's where Idaho stands on each:


Idaho must see a downward trend in emergency department visits for the last two weeks.

The latest data from the state shows it meets this criterion at just over 15 visits per day over the last two weeks.

Another metric under the syndromic category is seeing a downward trend in emergency department patients admitted to the hospital.

On August 5, there were five new admits. A week later there were three. Last week two new admits were reported, and none on Tuesday.


The state says it must see a downward trend or lower levels of documented COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days.

The state says it can also meet this metric by reporting fewer than 20 cases per day over the last 14 days.

Over the last two weeks, numbers provided by the state and local health districts indicate the state is averaging just over 431 new confirmed and probable cases per day. Two weeks ago, Idaho was averaging 481 new confirmed and probable cases per day.

An important note, KTVB’s numbers differ from the state numbers because every day KTVB also counts what local health districts are reporting past 5 p.m. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports the numbers every day at that time. Any numbers added by public health districts after 5 p.m. are added to the next day’s tally.

Another metric under this criterion is the test positivity rate. This also needs to trend downward or be under 5% to pass out of Stage 4. 

The state's latest data available shows the positivity rate for the last two weeks is 10.2%. In the previous two weeks, it was at 13.4%. Both are down from the 15% high that was recorded in mid-July.

Idaho has tested more than 44,000 people in the last two weeks.

So, according to our numbers, Idaho would pass this category since there is a downward trend both in daily new cases and the positivity rate.


The state says it must be able to treat all patients without needing to use crisis standards of care. A spokesperson for IDHW tells KTVB the state hasn't started using crisis standards of care at this point. 

Also, under this category, there must be enough available ventilators, ICU beds and personal protective equipment (PPE). The state says there must be at least 50 available ventilators, 50 ICU beds and a 10-day supply of N-95 masks, surgical masks, face shields, gowns and gloves, etc.

As of Thursday, the state is reporting 467 available ventilators and 85 available ICU beds. Both are well above what is needed to pass. The data the state uses to track available PPE is not made available to the public.

Another metric the state uses is requiring that no more than four people per day be admitted to the hospital. This was the metric that prevented Idaho from moving out of Stage 4 two weeks ago. The state only reports total hospitalizations to the public.

However, two weeks prior, Idaho hit its all-time high of COVID-19 patients in hospitals at 242. Since then, hospital numbers have been trending down to as low as 167 total patients on Saturday, August 15.

In just two days, the numbers started creeping up. The state has admitted another 38 people to the hospital from August 15 to the 17.

ICU numbers also jumped from 37 to 43 on Monday.  

Lastly, the final metric used by the state is total amount of healthcare workers who are reported to have COVID-19. Two weeks ago, state epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn announced the state will be working to change how they get this data. She said they are looking to change it due to a delay in reporting that could affect the numbers from being accurate.

So, it's unclear if Idaho will pass these criteria or not.

Idahoans will find out if the state gets to move out of Stage 4 on Friday at noon when Gov. Brad Little holds a press conference announcing it. 

KTVB will carry the governor's press conference live on KTVB, KTVB.COM and our YouTube Channel.

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