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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 July 12-18

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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 July 12-18 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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Member support is what makes local COVID-19 reporting possible. Support this coverage here.

 

Idaho Passes 13,000 Mark Of Lab-Confirmed COVID-19 Infections Saturday

July 18 - 5:10 p.m.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 536 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 Saturday, pushing the statewide total of cases since March to 13,419. The State reported the 119th coronavirus-related fatality Saturday, one which had previously been reported late Friday by the Central Health District in Ada County. 

Ada County continues to see the majority of new lab-confirmed cases, with 247 added Saturday to the county total of 5,426.

Hospitalizations had nearly doubled between July 12 and July 15, but no new data is available beyond July 15 when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ordered hospitals nationwide to shift data reporting from a public database at the CDC to its own private database.

588 New Cases, Ada and Canyon Counties Each See 2 More Deaths

July 17 - 5:30 p.m.

The case total for Friday dipped slightly to 588 new lab-confirmed cases in the state. This is the first week that the state saw a one-day total of more than 600 cases. The last seven days has seen a new high of 3664 reported positive tests. Ada and Canyon Counties continue to see the highest caseload with Ada at 306 and Canyon at 102. Each of those counties reported two new deaths bringing the state’s death count to 118. 

 

The state reports there are currently 453 cases of COVID-19 at 52 long-term care facilities. 

Trailing Of The Sheep Festival Cancelled Due To COVID-19 Concerns

July 17 - 11:09 a.m.

The Trailing Of The Sheep Festival in Wood River Valley has been postponed until October of 2021.

“We have a moral obligation for the safety of everyone involved to cancel this year’s event due to the COVID-19 public health pandemic”, Board President John Peavey said in a press release announcing the cancellation.

The annual migration of the sheep will still take place without a formal celebration. Peavey hopes that members of the community will “celebrate the sheep in your own way as you see them passing through town.”

Ketchum Official To Surrounding Communities: Face Mask Mandate Is Effective

July 17 - 7:03 a.m.

The City of Ketchum was one of the first Idaho communities to issue a mandate to wear a face covering in public places, in its effort to curb a rising tide of COVID-19 cases. Public Health Order 20-03 was the result of a robust debate by Ketchum officials. In the weeks that followed, a number of other cities, counties and public health districts have had their own debates regarding face masks.

Read the full story here.

Idaho Adds More than 600 Coronavirus Cases For Second Consecutive Day

July 16 - 5:16 p.m. 

Idaho added 658 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, for a state total of 12,295 cases. Four additional deaths were recorded on Thursday — two in Ada County, one in Canyon County and one in Valley County.

 

Hospitalizations and ICU admission due to COVID-19 also spiked on Thursday; 28 more hospitalizations and 14 ICU admissions were tallied. 

 

Two hundred and eighty-three of Thursday’s cases were in Ada County, 171 were in Canyon County and 71 were in Kootenai County.

Southwest District Health Board Meeting Cancelled "Due To Safety Concerns"

July 16 - 10:09 a.m.

The Southwest District Health board meeting was cancelled about half an hour after it was supposed to begin 8:30 a.m Thursday morning "due to safety concerns," according to a press release from the health district.

Read the entire story here.

South Central Public Health District Board Votes Against Mask Mandate

July 16 - 8:35 a.m.   

The South Central Public Health District Board, with representatives from Jerome, Lincoln, Gooding, Cassia, Camas, Blaine, Twin Falls and Minidoka counties, voted against a ordinance mandating face masks in the health district area. 

Hospital administrators from St. Luke's in the Magic Valley came to the meeting to make the case that the region needs to take the rise in COVID-19 cases seriously. "What we're seeing is an alarming rate of 'COVID' cases rising in our area," said Arlen Blaylock, chief nursing officer for St. Luke's Magic Valley. "I'm asking we work together to alter community behaviors."

County commissioners serving as board members expressed support for encouraging the public to wear masks, but were, for the most part, adamantly opposed to a mandatory order. 

"I think we need to be very careful issuing orders to a free society," said Twin Falls County Commissioner Jack Johnson. He said he supports the use of masks, but "it's a personal choice."

All cities in Blaine County, except for Carey, have issue mandatory mask orders, and that county's leadership was supportive of a mandatory order for the whole health district.

Idaho Is One Of First States To Begin U.S. Census Door Knocking

July 16 - 8:15 a.m.

COVID-19 put many of the U.S. Census Bureau's efforts to ensure a complete count of the country's population on hold. The agency is starting a major component of its in-person outreach on Thursday, and Idaho is one of the first states where it'll be working.

Read the full story here.

Trump Administration Orders Hospitals To Reroute COVID-19 Data Away From CDC

July 15 - 6:21 p.m.

The move came without much warning. 

“We were stunned,” Dr. Christone Hanh, the Idaho State epidemiologist, told the radio show Idaho Matters

The Trump administration had started re-routing hospital COVID-19 data away from a mostly public Centers for Disease Control and Prevention database to a closed U.S. Department of Health and Human Services one.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho Sets New Daily Record For COVID-19 Infections

July 15 - 5:08 p.m.

Idaho set yet another daily record for new COVID-19 infections Wednesday, recording 691 confirmed cases and another seven deaths. There were an additional 36 probable cases.

That number may have been impacted by some number discrepancies from the previous day, but nonetheless brings the state's total confirmed probable cases to 11,637. It continues the sharp upward trajectory of new cases in the state.

The state's death count now stands at 110.

One Death, More Than 300 Confirmed Cases Reported In Idaho

July 14 - 5:21 p.m.

State officials reported 288 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed by lab tests Tuesday. An additional death was recorded in Canyon County, bringing the statewide death count to 103. Ten more cases have been hospitalized since Monday and seven additional were admitted to the ICU, continuing the surge reported by Treasure Valley health care leaders. In a press conference Tuesday, St. Luke’s Health System CEO Chris Roth said about half of confirmed coronavirus cases in Idaho have occurred in the past two weeks, with the other half spread out over three months, from March to June.

Treasure Valley Health Leaders Sound Alarm Over Spike In Coronavirus Cases And Hospitalizations

July 14 - 10:30 a.m.

Top leaders from the Treasure Valley’s largest health care organizations are urging Idahoans to take immediate action against the further spread of COVID-19.

“We’re on a course of seeing exponential increases, and until and unless we change our collective behaviors, those will continue,” said St. Luke’s Health System CEO Chris Roth during a news conference Tuesday morning.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho's COVID-19 Reporting System Could Make It Hard To Judge Community Risk

July 14 - 7:15 a.m.

As coronavirus cases rise and testing becomes scarce, Idaho’s COVID-19 numbers may not be telling the full story.

St. Luke’s McCall hosted a virtual town hall Monday to discuss the threat of COVID-19 in Valley County. The county has seen an increase in cases, but Gina Pannell, Central District Health Project Manager, said because of the way cases are reported, the numbers may be even higher.

Read the full story here.

Boise's Treefort Music Fest Postponed Until Fall 2021

July 14 - 6:05 a.m.

Treefort Music Fest is being postponed until September of 2021. Just weeks before the festival was scheduled to happen in March, organizers pushed the five-day event until September.

The festival estimates around 25,000 people attended last year, but with limits on large gatherings and a surge in cases, organizers think even spring of next year would be too risky.

Read the full story here.

Idaho Reports 495 New Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

July 13 - 5:30 p.m.  

State health officials Monday reported 495 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Idaho. The majority of new cases — 301 — come from Ada County

The death toll in Idaho remained steady at 102, though a local nurse practitioner tweeted earlier Monday about the death of a Caldwell family nurse practitioner from COVID-19. That death has yet to be recorded on the state’s website.

An additional 17 cases among health care workers were added Monday, bringing the total to 760. The number of people hospitalized increased by 23 and two others were admitted to the ICU since Sunday.

 

Idaho Spending Trends Forecast COVID Spike

July 13 - 8:45 a.m.

As people started spending more at restaurants during phases of reopening, credit card data appears to forecast an increase of new COVID-19 cases, and Idaho is at the top of that trend.

Read entire story here.

Idaho Tops 10K Mark For COVID-19 Cases, Weekend Sees 944 New Diagnoses

July 12 - 6:00 p.m.

On Sunday, the number of coronavirus cases tipped past the 10,000 mark in Idaho with a total of 10,163 positive tests since the pandemic started in March. On Saturday, the state hit a new record one-day high of 556 positive tests recorded; new cases dipped a little on Sunday to 388. Ada and Canyon County, at the center of this summer surge, each saw more than 300 new cases over the weekend. On Sunday, Ada County reported 170 new cases, with Canyon County at 95 new cases. There were no deaths on Sunday keeping the state death toll at 102.

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