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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Coronavirus In Idaho: Resources & News From April 5 - 11

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Boise State Public Radio is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. This blog contains information from April 5 - 11 on closures, cancellations & news regarding the coronavirus in Idaho.

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Coronavirus Death Toll Rises to 27 Saturday; 11 New Cases

April 11 - 5:20 p.m.

State Health officials Saturday announced two additional coronavirus-related fatalities, bringing the statewide total to 27. District Health data suggests fatalities listed Saturday were in Twin Falls County (its second) and the first in Payette County, which had been previously reported but removed this week pending further confirmation. There were eleven additional confirmed cases on Saturday, bringing the statewide total to 1,407. Ada County's cases rose five to 517, most in the state. Healthcare workers account for 153 confirmed cases.

Allen & Co. Cancels 2020 Sun Valley Conference

April 11 - 4:50 p.m.

Allen & Co., the boutique New York investment firm which each summer invites some of the wealthiest and most influential business leaders to Sun Valley, has canceled its 2020 conference. The Mountain Express reports conference officials made the decision Thursday. The annual event began in 1982 and has grown to one of the most important events in business. It's also been identified as critically important to the economy of the Sun Valley area each summer. Allen & Co. recently made a $1,000,000 dontation to coronavirus relief efforts in Blaine County.

 

Blaine County, Ketchum Extend Emergency Orders

April 11 - 4:30 p.m.

Officials from Blaine County and the city of Ketchum Saturday agreed to extend existing local emergency orders beyond initial deadlines. Debate was mixed, with officials weighing the need to continue to 'flatten the curve' against the economic benefits of lifting local restrictions on the construction industry. Between March 14 and April 4, 481 Blaine county contstruction employees filed initial unemployment claims.

The most populated area of Blaine County is the hardest hit by the coronavirus in Idaho, and the only local area to impose restrictions beyond what Governor Brad Little ordered March 25.

Ketchum officials agreed to revisit the issue April 17, and have targeted April 20 to resume construction activities in the city.

Local officials are expected to revisit local emergency orders next week once there is more information about the state's current stay-at-home order, currently set to expire April 15.

Emergency Orders In Hailey Are Extended To Sunday April 19

 

April 10 - 7:45 p.m.

 

Hailey City Council members, with a 3-1 vote, approved the extension of emergency orders that were set to expire this Sunday. The additional week, to April 19, expands upon the statewide isolation order that is currently set to expire on Wednesday April 15.

 

The Idaho Mountain Express quoted Mayor Martha Burke, who said, “I don’t think we’re ready to put our construction workers and landscapers back to work. We just don’t have enough scientific data.” 

 

Hailey is located in Blaine County, one of the hardest-hit by the state's COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Friday Closes With 43 New Cases, An Additional Death

 

April 10 - 5:20 p.m.

 

The State of Idaho registered another fatality to the novel coronavirus, the 25th since the pandemic began in the state. There are now 1,396 lab-confirmed cases of the virus. Of those, 128 have required hospitalization. 

 

The counties most affected remain Ada, Blaine and Canyon. Since mid-March, 13,764 people in Idaho have been tested. Ten percent of confirmed cases have been healthcare workers.

What Officials Are Saying About When Idaho Can Get Back To Work

April 10 - 7:30 a.m.

Doctors, public health workers and government officials are saying social distancing is working in Idaho, and the state is beginning to flatten the coronavirus curve.

 

Idaho’s stay-at-home is set to end on April 15. Gov. Brad Little said things “will not return to normal on April 16,” but he hasn’t announced what restrictions will look like beyond the middle of next week, and Idahoans are wondering when they can get back to work.

 

During a town hall hosted by Blaine County on Wednesday evening, health officials in the community talked about what needs to happen before restrictions are lifted.

Read the full story here.

 

Idaho Episcopal Bishop On Keeping The Faith During Pandemic: 'We've Never Been Alone'

April 10 - 6:44 a.m. 

As Christians around the world prepare to mark the holiest day on the Christian calendar, many will be worshiping under a shelter-in-place edict. As a result, faith leaders are planning to share an Easter message unlike any other, in the shadow of COVID-19.

 

Read the full story here.

Six Deaths, More Than 120 New COVID-19 Cases

April 9 - 5:30 p.m.

After a few days of new coronavirus cases decreasing, Thursday saw a 121 jump and six new deaths. The State of Idaho is also reporting 13 additional “probable” cases because individuals were exposed in a significant way to the virus. The new total of cases is now 1,353. Health care workers make up about 10% of the confirmed cases with a 143 total. Commercial labs make up the majority of the testing at 10,523, while the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories have tested 2,571. 

 

Life Lessons: How The Boise School District Is Adapting To All-Remote Learning

April 9 - 6:44 a.m.

With every passing day, the likelihood grows that Idaho K-12 schools won’t reopen this academic year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, school officials across the Gem State are moving at lightning speed to roll out an unprecedented level of at-home online instruction.

 

In the Boise Independent School District, for instance, officials are distributing thousands of laptops this week to homes that are technically-challenged.

 

Read the full story here.

First COVID-19 Death Confirmed In Jerome County

April 8 - 7:07 p.m.

South Central Public Health District has confirmed the first coronavirus death in Jerome County.

Health officials say the woman was older than 70 and they believe age is a factor.

 

Jerome County has 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the state. 

 

Health Care Workers Make Up Most Of Idaho's 22 New Coronavirus Cases

April 8 - 5:33 p.m.

The number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Idaho dropped to 22 Wednesday, most of them health care workers, according to state officials. That’s down from 40 new cases the day before. 

In all, Idaho has 1,232 confirmed cases so far.

 

The state is also reporting three new deaths, bringing the total to 18. Five of those are in Ada County, according to the state. However, Central District Public Health said six people have died in Ada County and it’s not immediately clear where the discrepancy lies.

 

113 people have been hospitalized statewide — 20 more than Tuesday. An additional five people have been admitted to the ICU.

 

Idaho's Blaine County To Participate In Clinical Coronavirus Study

April 8 - 3:59 p.m.

Blaine County will participate in a clinical study to test a random sample of residents for the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies, the city of Ketchum announced Wednesday in a press release.

 

Antibody tests from a random sample of 400 residents will be sent to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and analyzed by researchers at the New York-based Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

 

Read the full story here.

Small Business Loan Applications In High Gear In Idaho

April 8 - 8:09 a.m.

The Federal Government has set aside $349 billion to help small businesses stay afloat as the economy remains partially shutdown due to coronavirus fears.

 

The Payroll Protection Program is part of the CARES Act stimulus package. It’s meant to fund small business operational costs like payroll and rent. The federal program, run through the Small Business Administration, went live Friday but many lenders across the country didn’t have online application portals ready.

"It was supposed to be up on Friday and it wasn't," Katharine Lobrecht explained. She is Finance Director at Best Bath, a Caldwell-based company that makes fiberglass showers and tubs.

Read the full story here.

South Central Idaho Doctors Say There Are Signs Social Distancing Is Working

April 8 - 7:35 a.m.

Hospital officials in south central Idaho are cautiously optimistic about the coronavirus picture in the Magic Valley and Wood River Valley.

Read the full story here.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little Says Coronavirus Measures Will Extend Past Mid-April

April 8 - 7:31 a.m.

In late March, Governor Brad Little (R) issued a stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of coronavirus in the state. The initial order was set to end on April 15.

“We will not return to normal on April 16," said Gov. Little.

At a virtual town hall Tuesday, the governor said he’s looking at data on the spread of the virus to decide how to proceed in the coming weeks.

 

Read the full story here.

 

Valley Regional Transit On COVID-19: Free Rides, Social Distancing And Fogging The Buses

April 7 - 6:44 a.m.

Riding the bus for free and not being able to sit near other passengers are just two of the many changes to Valley Regional Transit (VRT) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a totally different world,” said VRT Community Relations Manager Mark Carnopis.

Read full story here.

Gov. Brad Little Creates New Committee To Oversee Federal Coronavirus Funds

April 7 - 5:44 p.m.

Gov. Brad Little (R) has established an advisory committee to oversee roughly $1.25 billion in federal money to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Little signed an executive order Tuesday to create the group, which is made up of administration officials, state lawmakers, business leaders, and local government representatives, among others.

 

The committee will make recommendations to Idaho legislators on how to spend the money, which is expected to be available in about two weeks.

 

“I can assure Idahoans that the federal funds will not be used to create new government programs in Idaho, and we will uphold our Constitutional mandate to provide a long-term, structurally balanced budget for the people of Idaho,” Little said in a statement.

 

Two More Deaths As Total Number Of Idaho Cases Nears 1,200

April 7 - 5:15 p.m.

Idaho is reporting two more deaths and 40 more positive cases for the coronavirus Tuesday evening.

The state now has 1,210 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 15 total deaths.

Another 10 people have been hospitalized, with three more admitted to the ICU for the disease since Monday. Nine additional healthcare workers now have COVID-19 for a total of 96 across Idaho.

In all, nearly 11,900 people have been tested.

Health Officials Confirm Community Spread In Payette County

April 6 - 6:22 p.m.

 

Southwest District Health has now confirmed community spread of coronavirus in Payette County. This means transmission of the virus cannot be connected to travel or known contact with an infected person. Payette County reported its first positive test for coronavirus on March 24. Since then, it has announced a total of six cases and reported its first death Monday.

Thirteen Deaths, As Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Seem To Slow

April 6 - 5:10 p.m.

Idaho now has 1,170 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with more than 11,200 individuals tested at state and commercial labs. There are two more deaths in Canyon County; Payette County reported its first fatality, bringing the state death total to 13. Last week, the state saw increases of more than a hundred new confirmed cases a day for five straight days. But that rate has slowed and today, the state is reporting 69 new cases. A University of Washington analysis projects if social distancing continues into May, Idaho should reach its peak of hospital resource need in mid-April.

Boise National Forest Announces Additional Closures

April 6, 2020 4:49 p.m.

The Boise National Forest announced additional closures of trails, hot springs, and parking lots to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The forest had already closed many popular spots to discourage people from congregating.

Popular hot springs like Kirkham, Bonneville, Pine Flats, and Trail Creek are among the many closures.

Full list of closures here.

 

 

State Board Of Education Extends School Closures

April 6 - 4:07 p.m.

Members of the State Board of Education Monday unanimously voted to extend the current 'soft-closure' of K-12 school campuses in Idaho through either the remainder of the academic year, or the lifting of state and local social distancing guidelines. The current closure timeline only extended through April 20, originally to align with the Governor's 21-day 'stay at home' order issued March 25. Online learning will continue for all students, and select schools will continue to offer childcare for essential workers and meal kit pickup for students.

 

New Map Shows Statewide Free Lunch Pickup Sites For Kids

April 6 - 3:09 p.m.

 

The Idaho Department of Labor tweeted a new map Monday that shows approved locations for free lunch pickups for kids ages 1-18 across Idaho. The map gives the address of each location, the type of meals served and the service dates. For exact meal times, phone numbers for each site are listed. Kids must be present at pickup to be served. 

Jaialdi Postponed Until 2021

April 6 - 10:58 a.m.

Organizers of Jaialdi, one of the largest Basque celebrations in the world, are postponing the festival until 2021.

 

The summer event brings tens of thousands of people together in Boise every five years to celebrate the Basque patron saint, Ignazio.

 

Organizers say the move was made with “heavy hearts” and are still determining how to refund those who had already bought tickets.

 

They say this delay will not disrupt later festivals — the next of which will still take place in July 2025.

Few Additional COVID-19 Cases Reported Sunday In Idaho

April 5 - 7:15 p.m. 

The State Department of Health and Welfare confirmed 1,101 total COVID-19 cases Sunday. Twenty five were new cases and no new fatalities were reported. Ada County's count rose to 402, accounting for 17 of the newly reported cases. Canyon County reported 101 total cases.

South Central District Health, which covers Blaine County, did not report any new cases Sunday according to state Health and Welfare. The district had not updated the count on its own website since Friday evening.

Case numbers posted by individual health districts have typically been slightly different from the state total, but only three districts had posted a daily update as of Sunday evening.
 
Of the 25 new cases reported, 15 are healthcare workers according to data posted on the state website. The number of tests completed rose from 10,261 to 10,995 and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 rose from 66 to 77. Five additional patients in Idaho were admitted to intensive care. Fifty two percent of confirmed cases in Idaho are in persons under the age of 50, and 51% are female. Idaho continues to have more cases than neighboring Oregon, a state with more than double Idaho's population. The Oregon Health Authority reported a total of 1,070 confirmed cases Sunday, and 28 people have died.
 

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