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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 Nov. 8 - 14

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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 November 8 - 14 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.

Back-To-Back Days With 1,519 New Cases, Death Toll Rises Seven Saturday

November 14 - 7 p.m.

State health officials announced 1,519 new COVID-19 infections Saturday, which is the third time in four days that Idaho topped more than 1,500 daily cases.

The share of lab-confirmed cases fell compared to Friday, to 1,207.

The death toll Saturday increased by seven, to 759 people, but that likely includes the removal of one October fatality in Bonneville County which was corrected Friday as not attributed to COVID-19.

The Department of Health and Welfare had not updated its individual list of cases by county along with the rest of its data Saturday afternoon, but did update weekly totals showing 1,534 cases in Ada County and 1,070 in Canyon County to lead Idaho over the last seven days. Kootenai, Twin Falls and Bonneville counties each logged more than 600 cases the past seven days.

Idaho Reports Second-Highest Daily Total Of New COVID-19 Infections

November 13 - 6:15 p.m.

Idaho reported 1,270 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the second-highest daily total since mid-March, when Idaho recorded its first case. There were another 249 probable cases, bringing the total daily case number to 1,519. The statewide total of confirmed cases is now 68,350 with an additional 11,448 probable cases since the start of the pandemic.

The state also reported three new deaths, bringing the total to 752 (one less than expected due to an inconsistency in Bonneville County’s reporting*), though county level data appears to count four new deaths. Cassia, Jerome, Minidoka, and Washington Counties reported one death each.

As of Friday, 3,634 people associated with 164 long-term care facilities have COVID-19. Since March, the state has reported 248 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, with a total of 4,592 cases and 346 deaths. Only 84 facilities have resolved those outbreaks.

*UPDATE: The Eastern Idaho Health District explained the discrepancy in an email after deadline, saying IDHW reported a death to Bonneville County in October that was believed to be a result of COVID-19. The death certificate of the individual in his 80s was recently changed to say the cause of death was NOT from the virus. The health district's death count is now 73.

 

Shortage of Staff Forces Boise School District Fully Virtual Starting After Thanksgiving Break

November 12 - 5:30 p.m.

The Boise School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to return the district to full-time remote learning starting November 30, the first scheduled day back from Thanksgiving break, through January 15, 2021. Sports and other extra curricular activities are halted immediately.

District staff told trustees more than 1,500 staff and students were currently in quarantine due to exposure to confirmed or probable cases. Exact numbers were not provided, but a significant number of staff and teachers were quarantined. For the week ending November 6, data show 35% of secondary teacher absences went unfilled, and 22% of elementary teacher absences were unfilled.
District officials said bus drivers and school nurses were also in short supply.

The district plans to reevaluate sports at its December school board meeting, and could resume athletics prior to reopening school buildings. It targeted January 15 to resume at least some in-person learning because it was two weeks after the New Years holiday, typically the time in which a post-holiday spike of cases has become known.

Idaho Continues Double-Digit Death Trend

November 12 - 5:25 p.m. 

Idaho added 880 confirmed cases and 278 probable COVID-19 cases on Thursday for a daily total of 1,158. There have now been 67,080 confirmed and 11,199 probably cases in the state over the course of the pandemic. 

 

The COVID-19 death toll rose to 749 on Thursday, with 16 additional deaths. The state has recorded more than 10 deaths each day since Monday. 

 

The test positivity rate increased for the eighth straight week, according to data posted Thursday, and is up sharply from 14.7% last week to 16.9% this week. 

 

Southeastern Idaho Public Health District based in Pocatello has the lowest test positivity rate of all health districts with 11.3% of tests coming back positive. Eastern Idaho Public Health based in Idaho Falls has the highest rate of 26.8%.

SW District Health Moving Canyon, Washington Counties to Red Risk Category

November 12 - 1:39 p.m.

Southwest District Health Thursday announced it was shifting Canyon and Washington Counties from the orange, or medium-risk category, into the red high-risk category due to increasing spread of the coronavirus.

Owyhee, Payette and Adams Counties will remain in the orange risk category, and Gem County will move from the yellow category into orange.

In Canyon County, health officials say the daily incidence rate of 4.9/10,000 is rising and on the cusp of the critical category. More importantly, the test positivity rate in the county is 13.39%, and two-thirds of new cases cannot identify where they may have contracted the virus. There are also 11 assisted living facilities with outbreaks in the county and 280 school staff and students in quarantine or isolation as of November 12.

Washington County continues to see a dramatic increase in daily incidence rate, now 6.89/10,000 and a test positivity rate of more than 17% — more than double one week ago. About 75% of new cases in Washington County can trace back to a likely point of infection, and health officials say that number is increasing. Local hospitals are canceling or postponing elective procedures to ensure enough space to care for increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients.

Idaho Sets One-Day Record for COVID-19 Deaths, New Cases, Hospitalizations

November 11 - 5:18 p.m.

Idaho smashed its one-day records for COVID-19 deaths and new cases Wednesday with another 19 deaths and1,325 lab-confirmed cases. There were an additional 368 probable cases for a total one-day caseload 1,693. That's the most since mid-March, when Idaho reported its first case of the pandemic. The peak in Idaho’s first spike was 222 new confirmed cases on April 2. Wednesday’s number is a 497% increase over that. 

The state also set a one-day record for hospitalizations at 361 and tied a record for intensive care unit patients at 94, just a day after it set that record.

Idaho is grappling with one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country, even as numbers skyrocket across the U.S.

Despite that, much of the state has minimal restrictions in place and several cities have voted against mask mandates. Republican Gov. Brad Little has resisted a statewide mask mandate despite pleas from health professionals who say their hospitals are getting overwhelmed.

Neighboring Washington and Oregon, who have instituted more restrictions are faring better, though also seeing rising cases.

Idaho Surpasses 700 COVID-19 Deaths

November 10 - 5:30 p.m.

State health officials reported 964 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Another 237 cases were probable, bringing the total daily case number to 1,201. The statewide total of confirmed cases is now 64,875 with an additional 10,553 probable cases since the start of the pandemic.

In the state’s reported weekly hotspots, Ada County has the most new cases with 42 new infections Tuesday, bringing its weekly total to 293. Canyon County has surpassed Bonneville County on the hotspot list, with 156 new infections on Tuesday, bringing Canyon County’s weekly total to 278.

Idaho reported 16 COVID-19 new deaths on Tuesday. Ada County reported six deaths, with Bannock County reporting two. Bonneville, Canyon, Cassia, Idaho, Kootenai, Nez Perce, Payatte, and Twin Falls counties each reported one. The statewide total of fatalities is now 714.

Idaho Breaks Record Of Highest Daily Cases Since Start Of Pandemic

November 9 - 5:20 p.m.

 

Continuing a trend that started last week, Idaho health officials reported a new record of daily confirmed COVID-19 cases Monday: 1,146. This brings the statewide total to 63,911. An additional 120 cases were listed as probable.

 

Ada County alone added 364 cases Monday — no other county broke 100 — and is leading the county hotspots, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s website. Other hotspot counties so far this week are Bonneville, Canyon, Twin Falls and Kootenai.

 

The case numbers come after several Idaho health districts said in a press release Friday that the recent surge means it’s impossible for case investigators to contact every single person who tests positive for COVID-19, let alone that person’s close contacts.

 

State health officials reported an additional 12 deaths Monday, bringing Idaho’s death toll to 698. Six of the deaths are listed in Twin Falls County, while Shoshone, Canyon, Lincoln, Cassia, Fremont and Bingham counties each reported one.

As COVID-19 Cases Overwhelm Idaho's Health Districts, One Turns To Nursing Students For Help

November 9 - 7:15 a.m.

More than 1,000 positive cases have been reported in the South Central Public Health District during most weeks in the past month, but case investigators have only been able to reach about 300 of them. Read the full story here.

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