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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 Oct. 25 - 31

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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 October 25-31 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.

Double-Digit Deaths For Third Consecutive Day, Idaho Reports 11 More Fatalities

 October 30 - 5:43 p.m. 

State health officials reported 865 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the second-highest daily total. Another 199 cases were probable, bringing the total daily case number to 1,064. The statewide total of confirmed cases is now 55,834 with an additional 7,976 probable cases since the start of the pandemic.

As of Friday, 2,620 people associated with 132 long-term care facilities have COVID-19. Since March, the state has reported 229 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, with a total of 3815 cases and 309 deaths. Only 97 facilities have resolved those outbreaks. 

Idaho reported 11 COVID-19 deaths on Friday. It was the third straight day reporting deaths in the double-digits. The statewide total of fatalities is now 626. 

Ada County reported four deaths, two more were in Canyon County and Twin Falls, Lincoln, Bingham, Jefferson, and Kootenai counties each recorded one death.

 

'It's A Critical Situation': How A COVID-19 Surge Is Hitting One Small Idaho Hospital

October 30 - 10:30 a.m.

Minidoka Memorial is a 17-bed county-owned hospital in Rupert, along the Snake River Plain. Emergency physician Dr. David Wageman took his shift there last week.

“He had,in the span of 12 hours, four COVID-positive patients that needed to be admitted to a higher level of care,” said the hospital’s CEO Tom Murphy. Minidoka’s three-bed COVID-19 unit was full that night. So, Wageman began calling up other facilities, looking for bed space. 

Read the full story here.
 

Idaho's Economic Recovery Comes With A Warning From Gov. Brad Little

October 30 - 7:15 a.m.

Gov. Brad Little told the business community Thursday that Idaho is at a critical fork in the road when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to a physically-distanced crowd at the College of Southern Idaho, Little rehashed the state’s standout economic recovery, which includes a projected $530 million budget surplus partially built on the back of across the board cuts to state agencies prior to the arrival of the coronavirus.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho Sets New One-Day Record For COVID-19 Deaths

October 29 - 5:15 p.m.

Idaho reported 16 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday — a new record. That comes one day after the state recorded another 14 deaths, a previous record. Now 615 Idahoans have died due to the virus. 

 

Seven of the deaths were in Ada County. Bonneville and Twin Falls had two, and Canyon, Gooding, Kootenai, Madison and Lemhi counties all had one death. 

 

The state also saw 776 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, as well as 185 probable cases, for a total of 961. There have now been 54,696 confirmed cases over the course of the pandemic. 

 

The percent positivity rate for coronavirus tests in the state increased for the sixth week in a row and is now 14%.

College of Southern Idaho Trustees Ask For Mask Mandate

October 30 - 10:00 a.m.

The College of Southern Idaho Board of Trustees met Wednesday morning in Twin Falls for a special board meeting to approve a resolution calling on Magic Valley leaders to mandate facial coverings.

Last week, the South Central Public Health District board voted against a mask mandate after hearing pleas from hospital leaders. Twin Falls County Commissioner Brent Reinke, who sits on the board, voted against all measures proposed during the meeting to curb the spread of the virus. Twin Falls Mayor Suzanne Hawkins also indicated during a press conference last week that she’s opposed to a mask mandate for the city alone, saying it would be like trying to put a bandaid on a gaping wound. She says it wouldn’t work unless more cities got on board.

In an email to elected leaders announcing the resolution and calling for action, CSI President L. Dean Fisher noted that while mask requirements are in place in limited areas in the Magic Valley, including in all CSI facilities, more must be done to control the spread of the virus.

Boise Art Exhibit Showcases Those Who Can't "Stay At Home" During Pandemic

October 29 - 8:00 a.m.

People experiencing homelessness or who are incarcerated have been disportionately affected by the coronavirus. This week, a Boise collective is highlighting their stories with an outdoor exhibit.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho Ties One-Day Record For COVID-19 Deaths

October 28 - 5:15 p.m.

Idaho reported 14 COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, tied for the most of any one day during th pandemic. The state also reported another another 654 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday as new cases remain high in the state. There were another 208 probable cases, bringing the days total to 862.

Idaho is in the worst stretch of the pandemic since the first case was reported in the state in mid-March.

Wednesday's death bring the state's total for the pandemic to 599.

"Closing Window Of Opportunity" To Avoid Rationing Care, Idaho Hospitals Say

October 28 - 7:05 a.m.

Health leaders in Idaho say if hospital capacity continues to decline, the state may need to activate its “crisis standards of care” plan to ration care.

“We’re not in crisis conditions yet, but we are very close,” said Dr. Steven Nemerson, the chief clinical officer at Saint Alphonsus Health System, during a press conference on Tuesday.

Read the full story here.

 

Callers Hammer Gov. Brad Little In Town Hall Demanding An Idaho Mask Mandate

October 27 - 5:35 p.m.

Callers from around the state spent 40 minutes Tuesday once again asking Gov. Brad Little why he won’t implement a statewide mask mandate.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho Sets Record Hospitalizations -- Again -- Tuesday

October 27 - 5:12 p.m.

Idaho set new high water marks Tuesday for hospitalizations and ICU usage as the state added nearly 700 new cases and five deaths.

As of Oct. 23, the latest data available, 272 people were hospitalized statewide who are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19. 75 confirmed COVID-19 patients are in the ICU.

 

53,539 cases have been confirmed in Idaho since mid-March. State officials say there are another 7,384 probable cases, for a total of nearly 61,000.

 

The five deaths recorded Tuesday include two in Kootenai County, one each in Bonner and Jerome counties, as well as Latah County’s first.

 

Idaho COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Continue To Climb

October 26 - 5:12 p.m.

State officials reported 584 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 Monday, bringing the statewide total to 52,846. An additional 113 cases were listed as probable.

The state death toll now sits at 580, as seven coronavirus deaths were reported and one was subtracted from Kootenai County Monday — three in Bannock County, two in Ada County, and one each in Franklin, Bingham and Bonneville counties.

These numbers come in shortly after Gov. Brad Little announced Idaho is moving back to a modified Stage 3 in a press conference Monday afternoon. Little acknowledged the rising case numbers and said the state’s current healthcare capacity is in a “crisis.”

Hospitalizations and ICU admissions have been steadily climbing since the beginning of October. Idaho logged its highest number of both patients currently hospitalized in an inpatient bed who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and patients currently hospitalized in the ICU with COVID-19 on Friday, Oct. 23 — the most recent data available from state health officials.

 

 

Gov. Brad Little Pulls Idaho Back Into Stage 3 After Surge Of Coronavirus Hospitalizations

October 26 - 3:45 p.m.

Gov. Brad Little is yanking Idaho backwards to a modified third phase of his reopening plan, as hospitals say they’re on the brink of not being able to catch up with a surge of coronavirus cases that show little sign of slowing.

Read the entire story here.

 

As COVID Surges Again, Idaho In Urgent Need Of 'Heroes' For Elder Care

October 26 - 6:44 a.m.

Without exception, hardest hit by the pandemic have been the elderly. To date, approximately 98% of Idaho's COVID-19-related fatalities have been men and women over the age of 70.  And the challenge of caring for those residing in nursing and assisted living facilities has never been greater. That's why the Idaho Health Care Association has launched a statewide effort to recruit skilled workers, as well as "anyone with a strong back and a soft heart."

Read the full story here.

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