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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 Aug. 16-22


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 Aug. 16-22 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.

If you are searching for information on something specific, we recommend using the "find" function (CTRL+F on a PC, COMMAND+F on a Mac). Or search the archived blog posts at the bottom of this page.

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


Daily Case Count Continues To Drop, Two New Fatalities Saturday

August 22 - 5:10 p.m.

State Health officials Saturday announced 266 new COVID-19 cases confirmed by lab testing, the fifth of the last eight days with fewer than 300 new cases. The Seven and 14-day trends continue to fall, down 27% and 19% respectively in the last seven days. The majority of new cases continue to be found in Ada and Canyon counties. Combined, the two counties account for nearly 59% of confirmed cases statewide.

Two more fatalities were confirmed by state officials Saturday, both in Canyon County (64). Statewide, the death toll is 306, with 109 in Ada County, and the bulk of fatalities afflicting residents in long term care facilities.

Hospitalizations increased by 13 Saturday. Governor Brad Little and state epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn said Friday, too many people continue to need hospital care due to COVID-19 to move the state beyond phase four of its rebound plan. The threshold to advance is eight hospitalizations per day, recently increased from four.

Six New COVID-19-Related Deaths Recorded In Idaho, 232 New Confirmed Cases

August 21 - 6:00 p.m. 

State health officials reported 232 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed by lab tests Friday. The statewide total of confirmed cases is now 29,359. There are an additional 1,988 probable cases statewide.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 6 new deaths Friday, bringing the statewide total of deaths to 304.

Idaho’s small decrease in positive tests may not mean cases will continue to drop. Dr. David Pate, a member of Idaho’s Coronavirus Task Force, told Idaho Matters that with students heading back to school, numbers could be very different in a month.  


Compliance, Testing Still Challenging Idaho's COVID-19 Response

August 21 - 7:55 a.m.

Some of Idaho’s COVID-19 trends are looking promising, for now, multiple health officials said this week. But, testing and public buy-in of prevention efforts continue to be obstacles for public health leaders in the state.

Read the full story here.


Boise's Online Learning Challenges: Data Overages, Physical Distancing And ... Virtual Recess?

August 21 - 6:45 a.m.

When the Boise School District began another academic year this week, thousands of students, teachers and staff entered a new world. True, the district ended its spring semester at a distance; but educators and parents have much higher expectations for online learning if the pandemic continues to keep students away from classrooms.

Read the entire story here.


It's Show Time: Many Major Movie Theaters Reopen In Idaho

August 21 - 6:15 a.m.

After months of digging through old DVD collections and Netflix binging, new movies are coming again to the big screen.

Village Cinema, Edwards Theatres, Majestic Cinemas and the regional Reel Luxe theater chain will reopen their doors to moviegoers on Friday, August 21.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho Adds 385 Cases, Seven Deaths On Thursday

August 20 - 5:15 p.m. 

Idaho added 385 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday for a statewide total of 27,139. Seven deaths were recorded as well. Now 281 Idahoans have died due to COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic. 


Canyon and Shoshone counties saw two deaths, while Fremont, Gem and Kootenai each had one. 


Ada County added 117 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, while Bonneville added 44 and Canyon added 43. 


Idaho Governor Outlines His Plan For COVID-19 Special Legislative Session

August 20 - 7:45 a.m.

Republican Governor Brad Little has announced his plan for a special session of the Idaho Legislature August 24.

Little chose just three proposals Wednesday from lawmakers for the session: mail-in ballots, consolidating polling centers and protecting businesses, schools and others from liability related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the entire story here.

New COVID-19 Cases Top 300 Again In Idaho After Brief Decline

August 19 - 5:15 p.m.

Idaho reported nine more deaths and 323 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases Wednesday, the second straight day above 300 after a brief decline. The state reported another 47 probable new cases.

Idaho now had 26,754 total confirmed cases and 291 deaths.

Despite the high rate of infection, rules for prevention remain a patchwork across the state, with masks only mandated in a handful of municipalities.

Election Officials Assure Voters Their Ballots Won't Be Held Up In November

August 19 - 7:30 a.m.

The Idaho Secretary of State’s Office says voters shouldn’t worry about a recent warning from the U.S. Postal Service about ballots sent through the mail being delayed.

Nearly every state in the country, including Idaho, is at a heightened risk for ballots not being counted due to delayed delivery times, according to a letter sent by the postal service late last month.

Read the full story here.

Twin Falls Is First Of Idaho's Largest Districts To Begin In-Person Schooling

August 19 - 7:00 a.m.

When classes begin in Twin Falls on Wednesday, it'll be the first of Idaho's 10 largest school districts to commence the academic year with fully in-person classes.

Twin Falls School District is opening up for regular schooling with some added precautions because the South Central Public Health District announced the county is in the "Yellow" or "Moderate" risk category. 

Read the full story here.

Coronavirus Deaths, Cases Spike After Multi-Day Decline

August 18 - 5:08 p.m.

Idaho recorded 340 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 after a several day slide in the numbers, along with nine new deaths.

The prior three days each tallied fewer than 300 cases. The state has now confirmed 26,431 cases since mid-March.


Three people each died in Ada and Canyon counties, along with one in each of Kootenai, Payette and Shoshone counties, bringing Idaho’s death total to 282.


Hospitalizations appear to be declining, albeit still elevated. 167 people had been admitted to the hospital as of Aug. 15, the most recent data available. 37 people had been admitted to the ICU with COVID-19.


Idaho Lawmaker Stands By Comments On Experts And "Elitist" Policymaking

August 18 - 7:05 a.m.

An Idaho lawmaker is standing by his comments that listening to experts is an elitist approach to creating public policy.

Last week during a legislative hearing, Sen. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett) said, “Listening to experts to set policy is an elitist approach and I’m very fearful of an elitist approach."

Read the full story here.

Idaho Adds 250 New COVID-19 Cases, 4 Deaths Monday

August 17 - 5:15 p.m.

State health officials reported 250 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases Monday. This continues noticeable drop in case numbers over the weekend, following Friday’s case count of 502. The statewide total of confirmed cases is now 26,091.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare also announced four additional deaths after reporting zero on Sunday — two in Canyon County and one each in Owyhee and Kootenai Counties. This brings the state death count to 273.

Since Sunday, Aug. 16, 19 patients have been hospitalized and three were admitted to the ICU.

Idaho Lawmakers OK Coronavirus Liability Protection Bill For Special Session

August 17 - 7:05 a.m.

A group of state lawmakers has approved a bill that would grant schools and businesses some immunity from civil suits during the coronavirus pandemic.

The original version of the proposal would’ve given people, businesses and school districts legal cover from anyone who might sue for negligence during any emergency declaration from the state.

Read the full story here.

Idaho Cases, Deaths Slow Slightly Over Weekend

August 16 - 5:45 p.m.

Idaho health officials announced a total of 487 confirmed cases of COVID-19 this weekend — 304 Saturday and 183 Sunday — bringing the statewide total to 25,841. An additional four deaths were logged Saturday with no new deaths Sunday, putting Idaho’s death toll at 269.

Ada, Canyon, Bonneville & Kootenai Counties saw the biggest spike in coronavirus cases over the weekend, making up more than 75% of the newly reported cases.

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