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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. 15 - 21


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 15 - 21 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.

Ada, Canyon Combine For 44% Of Saturday's New Cases

November 21 - 7 p.m.

State health officials posted an increase of 1,070 new COVID-19 infections Saturday, 962 of which were confirmed by lab testing. Two more people have died, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, increasing the death toll to 847 people since March and 218 people just this month.

Nearly 44% of Saturday's new total cases were in Ada and Canyon Counties. For the week, the same two counties combined for nearly 21% of the state new total cases.

Idaho Continues Its Record-Breaking COVID-19 Week

November 20 - 5:15 p.m. 

Idaho added 1,486 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday - a new record, replacing one set just a few days before. There were also 300 more probably cases recorded on Friday, for a total of 76,570 lab-confirmed and 13,194 probable cases over the course of the pandemic. 

Ten additional deaths were added on Friday for a statewide total of 845. Ada, Cassia and Kootenai counties had two deaths each, and Bannock, Canyon, Gooding and Jerome each had one. 

Data added to the state dashboard Friday showed there were a record number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized — 404 — on Tuesday. 

Idaho’s test positivity rate increased for the ninth straight week. The percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 is 17.8%.

Twenty Three New Deaths As Idaho's Lab-Confirmed COVID-19 Case Count Passes 75,000

November 19 - 6 p.m.

Idaho reported 23 new fatalities on Thursday, the second highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic. The state added another 1,244 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the state’s total of confirmed cases to 75,084.

An additional 299 COVID-19 infections were probable, making Thursday’s total of probable and confirmed new cases 1,543.

Ada County reported eight deaths; Twin Falls reported three; Bannock, Canyon and Kootenai each reported two; and Bonneville, Caribou, Elmore, Fremont, Jerome, Minidoka counties reported one death each. Since mid-March, 835 Idahoans have lost their lives to the virus.

As Idaho’s coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean announced a new health order Thursday, allowing the Boise Police Department to issue fines and misdemeanors to help enforce the city’s COVID-19 rules. The Panhandle Health District also voted in favor of the state’s first district-wide mask mandate.

Idaho COVID-19 Cases Continue To Surge

November 18 - 5:15 p.m.

Idaho continued to post alarming COVID-19 numbers Wednesday, with another 1,075 lab-confirmed cases and 14 deaths. That comes a day after the state shattered its one-day mortality record with 35 deaths, and it pushed the state’s overall death toll for the pandemic to 812.

There were an additional 235 probable new infections, for a total of 1,310 likely new COVID-19 cases that day. Idaho has recorded over 1,000 new cases every day for the past two weeks, not including Sundays when some health districts don't report numbers.

Despite being in the worst stretch of a deadly pandemic that began in mid-March, Idaho's Republican Gov. Brad Little has resisted a statewide mask mandate, despite pleas from health officials and a steady drumbeat of fellow GOP governors instituting their own mandates.

Idaho Hospital System Predicts Doubling Of COVID-19 Patients By Christmas

November 18 - 6:15 a.m.

As Idaho’s hospitals treat record numbers of COVID-19 patients, their models suggest the next few months could look even more daunting.

St. Luke’s Health System was caring for 135 COVID-19 patients on Monday. At the beginning of October, there were an average of 35 COVID-19 patients admitted to the health system on a given day. Read the entire story here.


CDH Issues Advisory To Limit Coronavirus Spread in Ada, Valley, Boise and Elmore Counties

November 17 - 9:57 p.m.

Central District Health Tuesday night approved a health advisory calling for a return to remote work, universal mask-wearing outside the household, and end to social gatherings of any size and downsizing gyms and fitness facilities to 50% capacity. The Health Board's advisory also asks bars and restaurants to shift to curbside/take-out only and close by 10 p.m. nightly.

"COVID[-19] is getting the better of us at this point in time," district Communicable Disease Program Manager Kimberly Link told the board.

Board Chair Betty-Ann Nettleton thanked CDH Director Russell Duke for recent efforts visiting city councils in Mountain Home and Glenns Ferry in particular, to help educate local leaders. Duke said those conversations made him realize "loud and clear" that he needed to change the approach.

"They want us to tell them what they need to do, but not do it by way of order," Duke said.

The advisory issued Tuesday is only that, and does not change or nullify existing health orders already in place in Ada and Valley Counties.

The advisory will remain in place as long as the daily case rate per 100,000 residents stays above 30, and could become an order if the board votes to issue it as such. It could also become an order if area hospitals reach a point of needing to implement crisis standards of care, which means medical staff determining who gets treatment and who does not due to capacity issues.

Link told the board the two-week average daily case rate per 100,000 residents just in Ada County is likely to be more than 70 when data from last week is finalized.

The board did not hear recommendations or take action on any updated guidelines for schools in Tuesday's meeting.

After voting to cancel its next meeting November 24, the board also moved the time of its meetings from 8 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. starting with the next scheduled meeting December 1. 

Idaho Shatters Single-Day Death Record Tuesday

November 17 - 6:21 p.m.

Idaho set new grim records Tuesday, tallying 35 deaths and 1,406 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 as the state continues its free fall into the worst phase of the pandemic it’s yet experienced.

Tuesday’s death count shatters the previous one-day record of 19 set less than a week ago on Nov. 11.

Those include the following:

·      8 in Bonneville County

·      7 in Ada County

·      5 in Twin Falls County

·      3 in both Bannock and Caribou counties

It also includes one death each in Canyon, Cassia, Jefferson, Jerome, Kootenai, Lemhi, Lincoln, Minidoka, Power and Shoshone counties.

One death was removed from Gem County, Tuesday.

1,406 confirmed cases is also a new high water mark for the state, with an additional 375 probable cases. Combined, the two total 1,781 — also a new record.

In all, Idaho has recorded 72,765 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 798 deaths since March 13.


Idaho Reports More Than 900 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Monday

November 16 - 5:20 p.m.


Just days after Idaho Governor Brad Little rolled the state back to a “modified” State 2, health officials reported 924 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 Monday, bringing the statewide total to 71,359. An additional 175 cases were listed as probable.


Idaho reported four additional coronavirus-related fatalities Monday — one each in Kootenai, Canyon, Bonneville and Bingham Counties. With these deaths, a total of 763 Idahoans have died from the virus.


As state and surrounding hospitals near capacity, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s website shows the availability of ventilators and ICU beds is the best Monday that it’s been all month. Similarly, the most recent data available for hospitalizations and ICU admissions reported Friday, November 3 shows a slight decline in both numbers. More current information is not available at this time.  

News & Updates: