Coronavirus In Idaho Live Blog: Resources & News

Aug 7, 2020

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 on closures, 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 check the archived blog posts at the bottom of this page.

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Idaho Coronavirus Case Numbers Decline, But Remain Elevated

August 7 - 5:01 p.m.

Idaho officials are adding another 492 confirmed cases coronavirus to state totals Friday — down from yesterday.

Six additional people also died, bringing the death count to 229.

 

Since March 13, Idaho has recorded 22,408 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

 

Hospitalizations also remain elevated. After setting a record earlier this week, the numbers declined a bit to 201 people admitted to the hospital as of Wednesday. 

 

Despite having half as many people, Canyon County is now outpacing Ada County in both total infections and infections per capita.

 

The counties are served by two different public health districts. Central District Health, which covers Ada County, implemented a mandatory mask order a few weeks ago, while Southwest District Health has declined to do so, instead just recommending residents wear them.

 

The End Of Federal Unemployment Benefits Could Be Bad News For Idaho Economy

August 7 - 7:30 a.m.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program expired at the end of last month. The plan provided jobless Idahoans an additional $600 a week on top of their regular unemployment.

Eric Stuen, a University of Idaho economics professor, said the enhanced benefits would have come out to about $84 million over the course of the year. That’s about 1.4% of Idaho’s entire economy.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho Adds More Than 600 Coronavirus Cases For First Time In Three Weeks

August 6 - 5:05 p.m. 

There were 648 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases added in Idaho on Thursday, for a state total of 21,916 confirmed cases statewide. This was the third-highest daily case count over the course of the pandemic. In mid-July, Idaho saw 691 and 658 cases two days in a row. 

 

Six deaths were also added to the state count for a total of 223. Three of the deaths were in Canyon County, and one in each of Ada County, Bonneville County and Kootenai County. 

 

Canyon County also saw the highest case count of the day with 242 cases. Ada County followed with 138 confirmed cases, Kootenai had 61 cases and Bonneville recorded 51. 

 

Earlier in the day, Gov. Brad Little announced Idaho would stay in Stage 4 of the reopening plan for the fourth two-week period, after failing to control the spread of the virus enough to meet the necessary metrics.

 

 

Gov. Brad Little Funnels Cash To Schools While Idaho Stays In Stage 4 Of Reopening

August 6 - 1 p.m.

The third time wasn’t the charm, apparently, as Gov. Brad Little announced Thursday that Idaho will remain in Stage 4 of his reopening plan once again.

“It’s not the end of the world if we don’t get out of Stage 4, but to me, it’s the message that we’re out of Stage 4 because we’ve done the right thing,” Little said.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho High School Sports This Fall: A Balancing Act Of Heart And Health

August 6 - 8:15 a.m.

Wednesday, The Idaho High School Activities Association reaffirmed a previous decision to open the high school sports season statewide August 10. Treasure Valley Schools have decided to delay that one week, with games unlikely before September 8.

Superintendents and athletic directors from school districts in the Southern Idaho Conference (SIC) met this week and pushed the start of their practice seasons to August 17. They hope the extra week will give enough time for the number of new cases and hospitalizations in the Treasure Valley to decrease.

Read the full story here.

 

Pandemic Travelers Flock To Idaho For Outdoor Recreation

August 6 - 7:45 a.m.

Sun Valley businesses say the summer tourism season has been as busy as any other year, despite the pandemic.

Blaine County was once Idaho's coronavirus hotspot, but it has not seen large daily case numbers in several months. Still, the summer travel business wasn’t looking too optimistic as recently as Memorial Day weekend. But now, tourist towns like Sun Valley and Stanley are full to the brim, locals say.

Read the entire story here.

 

COVID-19 Pandemic Heightens Risk Of Human Trafficking In Idaho

August 6 - 7:10 a.m.

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred unprecedented spikes in unemployment, widespread housing insecurity and increased hunger.

“Traffickers will hone in on on an individual's vulnerabilities, especially by giving them false promises," said Jennifer Zielinski, Executive Director of the Idaho Anti-Trafficking Coalition.

Read the entire story here.

 

How Do You Keep the Music Playing? Boise Phil Goes Virtual

August 6 - 7:00 a.m.

While some of the world's premiere performing arts organizations hunker down due to the pandemic —even the New York Philharmonic canceled its entire fall season — Idaho's oldest-performing arts organization, the Boise Philharmonic, has unveiled a 2020-21 season of no less less than 27 performances.

But the season, including 85 works by nearly 70 composers, will primarily be showcased on BPO's new online platform: Digital Stage.

Read the full story here.

Idaho Sees Record Day For COVID-19 Hospitalizations

August 5 - 5:01 p.m.

Idaho reported another 401 lab-confirmed cases COVID-19, 7 deaths and a record number of hospitalizations Wednesday, as the state remains in the worst stretch of the pandemic since the first case was reported in March.

There were 242 patients hospitalized with suspected or confirmed cases on Wednesday.

An additional 72 probable new cases were reported Wednesday, bringing Idaho total confirmed and probable cases to nearly 23,000, with 217 deaths.

Despite the numbers, most businesses remain open across the state and Gov. Brad Little is encouraging schools to open for in-person instruction.

Idaho's Largest School Districts Take Different Paths To Fall Semester

August 5 - 8:30 a.m.

School Boards of Trustees for Boise and West Ada districts met Tuesday, deciding when and how to reopen schools to students this fall.

Read the full story here.

 

Mask Order Challenged By North Idaho Business Owners

August 5 - 7:45 a.m.

North Idaho business owners are suing public health officials over a mandatory mask order in Kootenai County passed last month.

The lawsuit was filed by two Kootenai County restaurant owners and Paul Herndon, who operates a raw milk dairy in Bonner County.

Read the entire story here.

 

Ada County Schools At Highest Risk For Community Spread

August 5 - 7:30 a.m.

Idaho’s school reopening framework asked local health districts to analyze community transmission levels and assign a risk category, ranging from 1 to 3.

Boise County, Elmore County and Valley County have all been placed in Category 2. Ada County’s school districts are in Category 3, which could mean extended building closures.

Read the entire story here.

Coronavirus Cases, Deaths Spike Again In Idaho

August 4 - 5:06 p.m.

After several days of relative declines in cases of coronavirus, Idaho added another 495 Tuesday, as well as 10 deaths.

The state has now recorded 20,867 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March 13 and 210 deaths.

 

Five of those who died were from Canyon County. Two were from Ada County and one each from Kootenai, Owyhee and Washington counties.

 

Ada and Canyon counties are still the hotspots for Idaho, accounting for nearly two thirds of Tuesday’s cases.

 

Data show admissions to hospitals and the ICU have spiked after a one-day dip. 195 people were hospitalized as of Aug. 2, while 39 of them were in the ICU.

 

Idaho Reports 305 New Confirmed Cases, 3 Deaths Monday

August 3 - 5:17 p.m.

After three days straight of declining numbers in new confirmed cases of COVID-19, Idaho saw an uptick Monday with a reported 305 lab-confirmed cases. This brings the statewide total to 20,375.

Canyon County alone accounted for more than a quarter of Monday’s new confirmed cases at 84. Kootenai County had the second-highest count at 42. Ada and Twin Falls Counties logged 23 and 21 new cases respectively.

Three additional deaths were also reported Monday: two in Ada County and one in Twin Falls County. State officials recorded two of the fatalities in the 80-years-and-older age range and one in the 50-59. A total of 200 Idahoans have died from coronavirus since March.

Since Sunday, 12 COVID-19 cases have been hospitalized and three have been sent to the ICU.

Low Turnout For COVID-19 Skeptic Rally Headlined By Idaho Lieutenant Governor

August 3 - 7:30 a.m.

A rally against pandemic restrictions featuring Idaho’s lieutenant governor drew a sparse crowd of COVID-19 skeptics this weekend in Twin Falls.

The event was called Freedom Is The Cure. Of course, there is no cure or vaccine yet for COVID-19. And medical experts agree face masks are a much more effective defense against spreading the virus.

Read the entire story here.

 

COVID-19 Outbreak In Twin Falls Jail Brings New Urgency To Overcrowding Issue

August 3 - 7:00 a.m.

After one inmate at the Twin Falls County jail tested positive for COVID-19 early in July, the jail ordered tests for all inmates and staff. About half of the tests have come back positive, and as of late last week, 125 inmates and seven staff members are confirmed to have COVID-19.

Read the full story here.

 

The Urgency Of The 2020 Sun Valley Wellness Festival

August 3 - 6:45 a.m.

While countless conferences and festivals have been cancelled this year due to the pandemic, Andria Friesen says cancelling the 2020 edition of the Sun Valley Wellness Festival and Conference wasn't an option.

"For crying out loud," said Friesen, president of the festival's board of directors. "If there's ever a time for us to figure out a way to get the best and the brightest and to get the information to everyone possible, it's this year."

Read the entire story here.

Idaho Passes 20,000 Cases, New Infections Sunday Fewest Since July 2

August 2 - 5:15 p.m.

Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare Sunday posted an increase of 218 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, pushing the state past 20,000 total cases since March. The daily total of new cases declined for the fourth straight day and was the fewest since July 2. Health officials announced no new fatalities across the state, but the state's death reporting has lagged behind local health districts in recent days. The reported number of available ICU beds at Idaho hospitals increased for the fourth consecutive day, currently 157. July 28, there were fewer than 100 ICU beds available.

Across Idaho, 20,067 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed and 1,277 cases are probable. The death toll is 197.

Eight New Deaths Reported Saturday, Daily Cases Fall For Third Straight Day

August 1 - 5 p.m.

State health officials posted eight new COVID-19 fatalities Saturday, bringing the statewide death toll to 197 people since March. Two of Saturday's deaths came from hard-hit Ada County, and another death Shoshone County was its second of the pandemic. State data Saturday show five deaths in northern Idaho's Kootenai County, though it was not clear how many of those fatalities were new. The state website, run by the Department of Health and Welfare, has recently been several days behind data posted by the Panhandle Health District. Saturday, the state showed 13 deaths in Kootenai County, and the district website - last updated Friday afternoon - showed ten.

Daily case data provided by the state showed 386 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis Saturday; 171 of those were in Ada County. When combined with the 71 new confirmed cases in Canyon County, the two Treasure Valley counties accounted for 63% of the day's new cases in Idaho. Idaho's statewide count since March stands at 19,849 confirmed cases and an additional 1,265 probable cases.

Between July 1 and August 1, the number of COVID-19 cases confirmed by lab testing increased by 14,063, and 105 people died from complications attributed to the disease.

Owyhee County Records Its First Death From The Coronavirus

July 31 - 5:23 p.m.

Another 12 people in Idaho have died after contracting the coronavirus.

Five of those deaths occurred in Ada County, three in Canyon County, and one in Bonneville, Elmore and Twin Falls counties. Owyhee County recorded its first death, as well.

 

In all, 189 people have died from complications due to COVID-19 in Idaho.

 

In all, state officials confirmed another 443 cases Friday, bringing the total to 19,463 since March 13.

 

Ada and Canyon counties continue to record the most cases in the state, with Canyon County hosting a larger concentration of the disease.

Fake Idaho "Mask Exemption" Cards Wrongly Claim Violation Of Disabilities Act

July 31 - 7:45 a.m.

As face mask mandates show up across Idaho, there are reports of people displaying fake cards claiming they are exempt from wearing masks.

The fraudulent cards say forcing these individuals to wear masks is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA and the Department of Justice say they do not issue or endorse these cards.

Read the entire story here.

 

Boise School District To Consider An Online Start To The Year

July 31 - 7:15 a.m.

After initially planning to re-open Boise schools for in-person instruction, the district’s board of trustees will now consider a virtual start to the year for students.

The public can send in written comments to Boise school trustees, or sign up to testify virtually. All comments to the board must be received by Monday at noon.

Details on how to provide comment here.

 

Treefort Music Fest Turns To Investors To Weather The Coronavirus

July 31 - 6:15 a.m.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a gut punch to many businesses including Boise’s homegrown Treefort Music Fest. Beginning Friday, the company is selling shares of itself to make up the difference.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho Adds More Than 500 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

 July 30 - 5:00 p.m.

 

Idaho reported 517 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday, for a statewide total of 19,020 cases. Four deaths were added, after a record-setting number of 13 were recorded the day before. 

 

There have now been 177 deaths due to COVID-19 in Idaho. Two of Thursday’s deaths were in Ada County, one was in Kootenai County and one in Twin Falls County. 

 

Ada County saw the most cases in the state Thursday with 157 confirmed cases, followed by Canyon County with 127 cases and Kootenai County with 72 cases. 

 

Fifty-five healthcare workers in Idaho who tested positive for coronavirus were added to the state’s tally; 1,189 healthcare workers have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 increased by 27 on Thursday and ICU admissions increased by 11. 

Idaho Records Deadliest Day During Pandemic

July 29 - 5:13 p.m.

Idaho reported 13 more COVID-19 related deaths Wednesday, the state's highest single-day total during the pandemic. That includes the first deaths in Madison and Shoshone counties, in Eastern and North Idaho respectively.

Some of the deaths were added late as the state caught up with local health district counts from a previous day.

The state also reported another 431 confirmed cases and 26 probable as Idaho remains in the worst stretch of cases by far since the first reported cases in March.

Despite the high number of daily cases, most businesses across the state, including bars and restaurants, remain open and masks are only required in a handful of municipalities.

Wednesday's deaths bring the state's total to 173 and come a day after the state reported the youngest person to die from COVID-19 complications. That person was in their 30s.

 

Central District Health Approves Mask Mandate For Schools In Ada County

July 29 - 7:45 a.m.

When schools in Ada County reopen next month, they’ll have to comply with an expanded mask mandate approved Tuesday night by public health officials.

Central District Health’s board signed off on the order, which requires masks to be worn at all times inside a school building, with few exceptions. A face covering may be taken off when a person is alone in an office with the door shut, or a teacher could take their mask off while instructing students if they are more than 10 feet away.

Read the entire story here.

Idaho Records Youngest COVID-19-Related Death, Reporting Discrepancies Continue

July 28 - 6:01 p.m.

State health officials reported 507 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed by lab tests Tuesday. The statewide total of confirmed cases is now 18,072. There are an additional 1,150 probable cases statewide.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported eight new COVID-19-related fatalities Tuesday, bringing the statewide death toll to 160. 

However, combined data from Idaho's seven health districts shows 168 current fatalities. Seven deaths in Kootenai County and one in Elmore County are unaccounted for in the state’s data. 

Idaho reported its youngest virus-related death which was in the 30-39 age group. More detailed information on that fatality was not immediately available.

 

Idaho Reports 6 New COVID-19-Related Fatalities

July 27 - 5:13 p.m.

State officials reported 479 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed by lab tests Monday. This brings the statewide total of confirmed cases to 17,565. There are an additional 1,129 probable cases statewide.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported six new deaths Monday, bringing the statewide total of deaths to 152. However, health districts are reporting 11 new deaths across five counties. That includes three deaths in Ada County, four in Canyon County, two in Kootenai County, one in Twin Falls County and one in Bannock County. 

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports two more cases admitted to the ICU, as well as nine more hospitalizations.

July 26 - 6:20 p.m.

State health officials announced 351 new COVID-19 infections confirmed by lab testing Sunday, bringing the state's weekend total to 878.

Almost 72% of the weekend's new confirmed cases were in Ada and Canyon Counties, which continue to be the state's hot spots.

The state reported zero fatalities Sunday; a quiet end to the deadliest seven-day stretch of the pandemic so far. Twenty-Eight people died of the disease last week, and 46 have died since July 1.

State data show 18 new hospitalizations Sunday, and five new cases in intensive care. The state's website tracker showed 20 fewer ICU beds available since Friday, but the statewide total of available intensive care beds and ventilators remains above critical levels.

Since March, 17,086 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed by lab testing. The state shows 5,731 cases - just one-third of the state's total - have recovered.

527 New COVID-19 Cases Saturday, 73% in Ada And Canyon Counties

July 25 - 5:18 p.m.

State Health and Welfare said 527 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed by lab testing Saturday, with 73% of those new cases in Ada and Canyon Counties. The state also announced two new fatalities related to the coronavirus; one in Canyon County, the other in Twin Falls County. Since March, 146 Idahoans have now died from COVID-19 complications; 46 since July 1. State data showed more than a dozen new hospitalizations Saturday, but ICU data was different within pages of the state's information dashboard. Health and Welfare posted an increase of ten people admitted to ICU care Saturday, but the number of available ICU beds - listed in a different chart on the state dashboard - decreased by 18 Saturday. 

The total number of people who have been confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus in Idaho is currently 16,735. Health and Welfare says 1,133 had asymptomatic cases and considers fewer than 5,500 to have recovered. It is not clear if the state counts asymptomatic people as recovered.

Six More Deaths And 500 New Cases
July 24 - 6:00 p.m. Idaho reported six more deaths and 528 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Friday. It’s not clear how many of the new cases were probable or lab confirmed because the state’s coronavirus portal was not updated as of 6 p.m. The numbers are usually reported at 5 p.m. every day, including weekends.  This week the state reports there are 569 people with COVID associated with long term care facilities with COVID-19. Sixty three facilities have current outbreaks.  
Idaho Adds 385 Confirmed Cases On Thursday

July 23 - 5:20 p.m.

Idaho recorded 385 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, for a total of 15,706 confirmed cases. Three additional deaths due to COVID-19 were tallied; two in Ada County and one in Canyon County. 

 

More than thirty healthcare workers were confirmed to have COVID-19 for the second day in a row. 

 

There were 147 confirmed cases in Ada County on Thursday, 84 cases in Canyon County, 44 cases in Kootenai County and 23 cases in Twin Falls County.

Idaho’s Daily Caseload Remains A Concern

July 22- 5:10 p.m.

State officials reported 461 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the confirmed statewide total to 15,321. Ada County contributed to more than 6,000 of those cases. 

 

The daily caseload is down from its highest level on July 15, but daily infection numbers remain a concern to health officials, who also worry about hospital capacity with this month’s surge in cases.

 

There have been 135 deaths in Idaho due to the coronavirus. Combining all the probable cases with the confirmed cases, the total number of Idaho residents thought to have been infected by COVID-19 was 16,322.

Coronavirus Cases, Deaths Rise Again After Single Day Drop

July 21 - 5:07 p.m.

After a slight, one-day dip, Idaho recorded more than 500 cases of coronavirus for the seventh time.

State officials confirmed another 523 cases and four deaths. Ada and Canyon counties continue to be the epicenter of Idaho’s biggest outbreaks, adding another 195 and 168 cases respectively.

 

Two of the four new deaths were in Ada County and one in Canyon County. The fourth death was in Jefferson County — its first.

 

Over the past week, Idaho has confirmed more than 3,900 cases of COVID-19.

Idaho Reports 3 New Deaths, 21 Hospitalizations, and 5 Cases Admitted to ICU

July 20 - 5:23 p.m.

State officials reported 358 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed by lab tests Monday. This brings the statewide total of confirmed cases to 14,337. There are an additional 929 probable cases statewide since the start of the pandemic in March.

Three new deaths were reported Monday, bringing the statewide total of deaths to 122. One death was in the 70-79 age group, while the other two fatalities were individuals 80 years or older.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports 21 new hospitalizations and five cases admitted to the ICU.

Treasure Valley Accounts For 65% of Idaho's 1,096 New COVID-19 Infections This Weekend

July 19 - 7:30 p.m.

Idaho's confirmed total of COVID-19 cases since March nearly reached 14,000 Sunday, with 560 new infections statewide. Data from state Health and Welfare show Idaho is averaging 519 new confirmed cases per day since July 10.

Ada and Canyon Counties continue to surge, combining for 65% of the state's total confirmed cases over the weekend. According to census data from last July, Ada and Canyon Counties combine for 39% of Idaho's total population. 

State data showed no new fatalities Sunday, the first day since July 13th without a death attributed to COVID-19. But, the State website appears to be missing a death reported Friday in eastern Idaho's Bingham County, which would be the 120th coronavirus-related fatality since the outbreak began in March. It was not immediately clear why that death was missing from the state coronavirus website.

Hospitalization data provided by Idaho Health and Welfare has not been updated beyond July 15, the date U.S. Health and Human Services ordered hospitals nationwide to report data to its new collection system instead of the system run by the Centers for Disease Control.

People aged 19-29 have the vast majority of confirmed cases in Idaho, nearly double the next closest age group: 30-39 year-olds. According to state data, which includes both confirmed and probable infections, people 39 and younger account for nearly 59% of statewide cases since March.

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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