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 the latest on closures, cancellations & news regarding the coronavirus in Idaho.
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The Latest Idaho News
April 8 - 7:07 p.m.
South Central Public Health District has confirmed the first coronavirus death in Jerome County.
Health officials say the woman was older than 70 and they believe age is a factor.
Jerome County has 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the state.
April 8 - 5:33 p.m.
The number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Idaho dropped to 22 Wednesday, most of them health care workers, according to state officials. That’s down from 40 new cases the day before.
In all, Idaho has 1,232 confirmed cases so far.
The state is also reporting three new deaths, bringing the total to 18. Five of those are in Ada County, according to the state. However, Central District Public Health said six people have died in Ada County and it’s not immediately clear where the discrepancy lies.
113 people have been hospitalized statewide — 20 more than Tuesday. An additional five people have been admitted to the ICU.
April 8 - 3:59 p.m.
Blaine County will participate in a clinical study to test a random sample of residents for the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies, the city of Ketchum announced Wednesday in a press release.
Antibody tests from a random sample of 400 residents will be sent to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and analyzed by researchers at the New York-based Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
April 8 - 8:09 a.m.
The Federal Government has set aside $349 billion to help small businesses stay afloat as the economy remains partially shutdown due to coronavirus fears.
The Payroll Protection Program is part of the CARES Act stimulus package. It’s meant to fund small business operational costs like payroll and rent. The federal program, run through the Small Business Administration, went live Friday but many lenders across the country didn’t have online application portals ready.
"It was supposed to be up on Friday and it wasn't," Katharine Lobrecht explained. She is Finance Director at Best Bath, a Caldwell-based company that makes fiberglass showers and tubs.
April 8 - 7:35 a.m.
Hospital officials in south central Idaho are cautiously optimistic about the coronavirus picture in the Magic Valley and Wood River Valley.
April 8 - 7:31 a.m.
In late March, Governor Brad Little (R) issued a stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of coronavirus in the state. The initial order was set to end on April 15.
“We will not return to normal on April 16," said Gov. Little.
At a virtual town hall Tuesday, the governor said he’s looking at data on the spread of the virus to decide how to proceed in the coming weeks.
April 7 - 6:44 a.m.
“It’s a totally different world,” said VRT Community Relations Manager Mark Carnopis.
April 7 - 5:44 p.m.
Gov. Brad Little (R) has established an advisory committee to oversee roughly $1.25 billion in federal money to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Little signed an executive order Tuesday to create the group, which is made up of administration officials, state lawmakers, business leaders, and local government representatives, among others.
The committee will make recommendations to Idaho legislators on how to spend the money, which is expected to be available in about two weeks.
“I can assure Idahoans that the federal funds will not be used to create new government programs in Idaho, and we will uphold our Constitutional mandate to provide a long-term, structurally balanced budget for the people of Idaho,” Little said in a statement.
April 7 - 5:15 p.m.
Idaho is reporting two more deaths and 40 more positive cases for the coronavirus Tuesday evening.
The state now has 1,210 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 15 total deaths.
Another 10 people have been hospitalized, with three more admitted to the ICU for the disease since Monday. Nine additional healthcare workers now have COVID-19 for a total of 96 across Idaho.
In all, nearly 11,900 people have been tested.
April 6 - 6:22 p.m.
Southwest District Health has now confirmed community spread of coronavirus in Payette County. This means transmission of the virus cannot be connected to travel or known contact with an infected person. Payette County reported its first positive test for coronavirus on March 24. Since then, it has announced a total of six cases and reported its first death Monday.
April 6 - 5:10 p.m.
Idaho now has 1,170 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with more than 11,200 individuals tested at state and commercial labs. There are two more deaths in Canyon County; Payette County reported its first fatality, bringing the state death total to 13. Last week, the state saw increases of more than a hundred new confirmed cases a day for five straight days. But that rate has slowed and today, the state is reporting 69 new cases. A University of Washington analysis projects if social distancing continues into May, Idaho should reach its peak of hospital resource need in mid-April.
April 6, 2020 4:49 p.m.
The Boise National Forest announced additional closures of trails, hot springs, and parking lots to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The forest had already closed many popular spots to discourage people from congregating.
Popular hot springs like Kirkham, Bonneville, Pine Flats, and Trail Creek are among the many closures.
April 6 - 4:07 p.m.
Members of the State Board of Education Monday unanimously voted to extend the current 'soft-closure' of K-12 school campuses in Idaho through either the remainder of the academic year, or the lifting of state and local social distancing guidelines. The current closure timeline only extended through April 20, originally to align with the Governor's 21-day 'stay at home' order issued March 25. Online learning will continue for all students, and select schools will continue to offer childcare for essential workers and meal kit pickup for students.
April 6 - 3:09 p.m.
The Idaho Department of Labor tweeted a new map Monday that shows approved locations for free lunch pickups for kids ages 1-18 across Idaho. The map gives the address of each location, the type of meals served and the service dates. For exact meal times, phone numbers for each site are listed. Kids must be present at pickup to be served.
April 6 - 10:58 a.m.
Organizers of Jaialdi, one of the largest Basque celebrations in the world, are postponing the festival until 2021.
The summer event brings tens of thousands of people together in Boise every five years to celebrate the Basque patron saint, Ignazio.
Organizers say the move was made with “heavy hearts” and are still determining how to refund those who had already bought tickets.
They say this delay will not disrupt later festivals — the next of which will still take place in July 2025.
April 5 - 7:15 p.m.
The State Department of Health and Welfare confirmed 1,101 total COVID-19 cases Sunday. Twenty five were new cases and no new fatalities were reported. Ada County's count rose to 402, accounting for 17 of the newly reported cases. Canyon County reported 101 total cases.
South Central District Health, which covers Blaine County, did not report any new cases Sunday according to state Health and Welfare. The district had not updated the count on its own website since Friday evening.
Case numbers posted by individual health districts have typically been slightly different from the state total, but only three districts had posted a daily update as of Sunday evening. Of the 25 new cases reported, 15 are healthcare workers according to data posted on the state website. The number of tests completed rose from 10,261 to 10,995 and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 rose from 66 to 77. Five additional patients in Idaho were admitted to intensive care. Fifty two percent of confirmed cases in Idaho are in persons under the age of 50, and 51% are female. Idaho continues to have more cases than neighboring Oregon, a state with more than double Idaho's population. The Oregon Health Authority reported a total of 1,070 confirmed cases Sunday, and 28 people have died. Older blog posts:
- Read the archived blog headlines from March 29 - April 4 here.
- Read the archived blog headlines from March 22-28 here.
- Read the archived blog headlines from March 15-21 here.
- Read the archived blog headlines from March 8-14 here.
News & Updates:
- The Idaho Official Resources for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates
- World Health Organization Coronavirus Updates
- NPR Coronavirus Coverage