More accuracy needed in COVID reporting

| January 10, 2021 1:00 AM

As of December 20, the state of Idaho’s COVID-19 “dashboard” site has improved details and insights into the COVID-19 troubles in our state.

But, Idaho’s main newspapers, owned by Hagadone, disregard this and their journalist, Craig Northrup, prints his own made-up information.

While reporting on Governor Brad Little’s most recent visit to Coeur d’Alene, Northrup says that “While hospitals across Idaho are nearing capacity … .” Yet the “dashboard” reports that the more important category of ICU bed availability has only hovered around 100 since early July. Is he speaking for the governor?

The website now provides information on the weekly number of tests which have increased since early July and doubled since Labor Day. The number of positive cases in Bonner County has grown from 400 to 900 per week, which is 5% to 13%, while showing a recent slowing.

However, importantly, the website does not separate “confirmed” cases from “probable” cases. We could be better informed if reporters were more thorough in their research and sought those answers.

Another notable piece of information from the website: the virus has had a very small impact on the Native American community and an overwhelmingly large impact on the white population.

In summary, the tests are not transparent on what is confirmed or probable. The ICUs in Bonner County’s hospitals are not at critical risks, despite the drum beating.

SHANNON VAN NATTER

Priest River