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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 May 31 - June 6


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 May 31 - June 6 on closures, openings, cancellations & news regarding the coronavirus in Idaho.

Looking for resources? Click here. If you have specific questions or a story about the virus in Idaho, please submit them here.

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State Reports 19 New Lab-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Saturday

June 6 - 5:55 p.m.

State health officials reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed by lab tests Saturday, and no new fatalities. No Idahoan has died from COVID-19 since June 1 according to information from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The total number of lab-confirmed cases is 2,840, with an additional 299 probable cases.

Case numbers jumped this week, with more than 49 new confirmed cases each day between Wednesday and Friday. Two of Idaho's seven health districts don't report numbers on weekends. Those districts include the most impacted areas of the state.


State To Add Long-Term Care Numbers To COVID-19 Data

June 5 - 5:30 p.m.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare started reporting the number of coronavirus cases at long-term care facilities today. Friday’s report said currently 10 facilities are associated with 198 cases. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 25 outbreaks overall with a total of 289 cases. There have been 19-virus related deaths associated with nine facilities. Idaho has around 400 long-term care facilities. 

The state also reported 58 new lab-confirmed cases today and no new deaths. Eighty-three people have died from the virus and 2,821 have contracted it since the first case was confirmed on March 13.


Gov. Little Announces 'Return-To-Work' Cash Incentive For Idahoans On Unemployment

June 5 - 11:23 a.m.

Governor Brad Little Thursday announced a cash incentive plan for unemployed Idahoans to return to work. The plan calls for $1,500 payments to workers who return to full-time jobs and $750 for part-time workers.


The bonuses are in addition to regular unemployment benefits, which, Governor Little noted, often pay more than regular wages when pandemic unemployment aid is included.

Up to $100 million in federal relief funds will be available as part of the program, and additional funding may be allocated from unused money from the state's cash grants for small businesses program.


Return-to-work bonuses will be paid on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the state will announce its application process by June 15.

Volunteers Take On Important Roles In Idaho's Response To The Pandemic

June 5 - 7:00 a.m.

The coronavirus has, at times, stretched public health resources in Idaho. It has required retired doctors, school nurses and even college students to help out with the pandemic’s response.

Gail Richardson is a school nurse in the Magic Valley. With students at home, she knew she’d have some extra time on her hands. A couple weeks after schools closed, she started volunteering with the South Central Public Health District to make calls to people who tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Read the entire story here.  

Idaho Adds 54 More Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Thursday

June 4 - 8:37 p.m.

Idaho added 54 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 Thursday and no additional deaths. There are now 2,763 confirmed cases and 83 deaths in the state. More than half of the new cases were reported from South Central Public Health, with Jerome and Cassia counties logging 10 each.


On Thursday the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare received negative lab reports dating back to May 7 that had not been previously reported. The data is currently being analyzed and the department plans to update numbers accordingly. 

Weekly Unemployment Claims Continue Decline But Remain Historically High

June 4 - 11:30 a.m.

The number of Idahoans filing initial claims for unemployment continues to decline but remains at historical highs.

According to data released by the Idaho Department of Labor, 3,646 people filed initial claims the week ending May 30, a 22% decline over the week prior. That number is more than three times higher than the average weekly filing for May since 2010, but the lowest number of initial claims since pandemic-induced layoffs began in mid-March.
The agency reports continued claims also fell, down ten percent from the week prior to 51,035 people. Continued claims are made by people who remain unemployed and receiving benefits for multiple weeks.
Idaho did not release specific claims data for self-employed individuals, but nationally, claims made in that category decreased nearly 50% from the previous week as federal benefit programs were expanded to include self-employed workers.
Nationwide, initial claims decreased by 12%, to just under 1.9 million last week, but continued claims nationwide rose more than three percent to nearly 21.5 million people.

49 Additional Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Wednesday

June 3 - 5:18 p.m.


State health officials Wednesday reported an additional 49 confirmed cases of coronavirus and no new fatalities. This brings the statewide confirmed case total to 2,709, with an additional eight listed as probable.


The newly reported cases were spread out across the state and no county reported confirmed cases in the double digits Tuesday — Ada, Jerome and Bonneville Counties logged the most at five each.


The state considers 2,311 people to have recovered from infection, while 253 infected have required hospitalization and 98 of those have been in intensive care. Five of Tuesday’s newly-confirmed cases are among healthcare workers, bringing the statewide total to 316 — a jump of nearly 10 cases since the end of last week.


To date, 49,524 tests for coronavirus have been administered in Idaho.

Idaho Department Of Labor Working To Clear Backlog Of Jobless Claims

June 3 - 7:15 a.m.

Some jobless Idahoans haven’t received unemployment money for 11 weeks. At a virtual town hall Tuesday, Director of Idaho Department of Labor Jani Revier addressed concerns about the delayed unemployment checks.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho Reports No New Deaths Tuesday

June 2 - 5:09 p.m.

Idaho is reporting 17 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 with no new deaths.


2,660 state residents have contracted the coronavirus, while 83 have died since the first case was detected March 13. Most of the new cases are concentrated among counties in south central and eastern Idaho.


On Tuesday, 799 test results were reported — nearly half as many as Monday.


Ketchum To Close Downtown Street To Cars

June 2 - 8:00 a.m.

From New York City to Seattle, cities across the country are closing streets to cars to make more room for pedestrians and cyclists during the pandemic. Late last month, Boise voted to pilot blocking off part of 8th Street to cars and on Monday, Ketchum City Council approved closing part of a downtown street.

Read the full story here.

Shot Fired At Boise Rally

June 1 - 10:54 p.m.

Someone fired a shot, apparently accidentally, at a protest against police violence at the Idaho Capitol Monday, according to the Boise Police Department. Protesters at the scene said on Twitter that the shooter was not associated with the protest.

No one was injured and officers took the shooter into custody, according to a tweet from the Boise Police. The tweet also said the protest continued peacefully and that there were no other acts of violence.

Gun Sales Continue To Boom During The Pandemic

June 1 - 9:37 p.m.

Gun sales continued to boom in May, the third-straight month with a spike in estimated sales.

Americans bought more than 1.7 million firearms in May, according to estimates from industry analyst Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting. That is down from an estimated 1.8 million firearms in April, but an 80% year-over-year estimated increase.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho Saw Biggest Jump In Cases In Over A Month On Sunday

June 1 - 6:53 p.m.

Idaho reported 56 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 Sunday, the largest one day total since April 20. The state's reporting on weekend numbers sometimes lags behind. On Monday, nine new cases were reported.

The state also reported one additional death, bringing Idaho's total to 83. That death was in Bannock County, the first in East Idaho.

The additional 65 confirmed cases over Sunday and Monday brings the state's total of confirmed cases to 2,643.

Idaho Governor Celebrates Testing Strategy, But Questions About Implementation Remain

June 1 - 8:20 a.m.

Idaho’s wishlist for expanding coronavirus testing is long. But since releasing a testing strategy more than a week ago, the state hasn’t provided much clarity on how it will get all the tests it will need.

Read the full story here.

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