Idaho News

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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April 2 - 5:53 p.m.

 

The state of Idaho saw a 222 jump in cases Thursday bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 891. There have been no new deaths reported in the last two days bringing the state total to nine since the first case was diagnosed last month. Idaho’s population is less than two million, but it now has more cases than neighboring Oregon that has twice the population. Oregon has 826 cases. The state case number has continued to increase this week with a 144 jump on Wednesday and a more than 100 jump the day before. 

 

Sparsely populated Blaine County remains the epicenter of cases at 351 and Ada County has 307. 

April 1 - 6:30 p.m.

When the state initially reported numbers at 5:00 p.m., it erroneously reported there were 673 confirmed cases. This post has been updated to reflect the correct numbers.

The number of confirmed cases in the state of Idaho jumped to 669, a 144 increase from the day before. The caseload for Blaine County remains at the highest for the state at 256. With a population of around 23,000, this means the sparsely populated county has one of the highest rates per capita in the country. Ada County, the largest county in the state with a population of more than 480,000 has the next highest count in the state at 226. There were no new deaths reported on Wednesday with the number of deaths in Idaho staying at nine. More than 7,000 people have been tested in state and commercial labs.

March 31 - 5:18 p.m.

South Central Public Health District and Southwest District Health have confirmed the first cases of COVID-19 in Adams and Camas counties Tuesday.

It’s unclear how the man in his 60s in Adams County contracted the coronavirus, according to public health officials. He’s recovering well at home, they said.

South Central Public Health District only confirmed that Camas County’s first case was an adult woman. They say she likely picked up the virus by traveling to areas with community spread.

Her health status, as well as whether she’s been hospitalized is unknown and state officials say that information is confidential.

March 31 - 5:05 p.m.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, continue to climb in Idaho. 100 more cases have been reported within the last day.

 

State officials report 525 cases, with 9 deaths.  

 

Ada County, Idaho’s largest, keeps surging, and now effectively shares the distinction as the epicenter of the state’s outbreak with 195 cases.

 

Blaine County, where much of the spread began, has 192 cases.

 

5,712 people have been tested among private and state laboratories.

 

45 people have been hospitalized from COVID-19 in Idaho so far. 

 

25 health care workers have contracted the disease as of Tuesday evening.

March 30 - 5 p.m.

 

Idaho health officials reported 105 new cases of coronavirus Monday, with one additional death.

 

That brings the state’s total to 415 cases and seven deaths.

 

Ada County, Idaho’s most populous county, surpassed Blaine County for the highest number of total cases for the first time.

 

151 people have contracted COVID-19 in Ada County, compared to 148 people in rural Blaine County.

 

More than 4,700 people have been tested among commercial laboratories and the state’s public health lab.

March 29 - 5:00 p.m.  

The State of Idaho reports there are 310 confirmed cases of COVID-19. By the end of the weekend, the state has reported six deaths. Blaine County still has the most cases at 115, but Ada County has just two fewer cases at 113. Both counties each have had two virus-related deaths. Canyon County has the next highest number of cases at 40 and one death. Nez Perce County has only four cases, but one fatality. Commercial labs have tested 3,139 individuals, more than twice the amount the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories has tested at 1,567. 

March 29 - 11:36 a.m.

Southwest District Health has confirmed the first COVID-19 case in Owyhee County. The individual is a female in her 40s. Her condition was not immediately reported, and the source of transmission is under investigation.

March 28 - 5:15 p.m.

State officials Saturday evening announced 261 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Idaho and a statewide death toll of five.  Blaine County continues to have the most in the state with 114. Ada County added four from Friday's total, with 88. Lincoln County, home to Shoshone and Richfield, had its first confirmed case Saturday. Cases were split almost evenly between individuals on either side of age 50, and lean 54% female. The number of tests completed on Idahoans increased by about 800 from Friday, to 4,282. The majority of those tests have been completed at out-of-state labs. Earlier Saturday, a man in his 60s was announced as the first fatality in Ada County; the fifth in the state.

March 28 - 1 p.m.

Central District Health officials announced the first COVID-19-related death in Ada County Saturday, a man over the age of 60 with pre-existing health conditions. Officials say they will only be releasing limited information on individuals due to privacy rules.

The Ada County man is the fifth to die of the infection in Idaho. The first two fatalities were in Blaine County earlier this week, followed by a man in his 70s in Canyon County, and an individual in their 80s in Nez Perce County Friday.

The official state department of Health and Welfare total remains at 230, but individual districts have reported an increase to 153 cases across Idaho.  The State numbers are updated once per day, at 5 p.m.

March 27 - 7:43 p.m. 

Eastern Idaho Public Health announced the first positive case of COVID-19 in Bonneville County. The individual is a male, over the age of 60, who had recently returned from travel out of the country. Health officials say upon his return to the U.S., he self-isolated and then became symptomatic. He was hospitalized, but is now recovering at home. 

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is currently reporting eight other confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the Eastern Idaho Public Health District.

 

March 27 - 6:21 p.m.

The state’s South Central Public Health District has announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Lincoln County, which neighbors Blaine County to the south.

The individual is male, over the age of 70, and has been hospitalized. The point of transmission is under investigation.

 

March 27 - 5:03 p.m.

 

The state of Idaho is reporting four deaths and 230 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. These numbers come two weeks after Idaho announced its first case. 

 

Nez Perce County reported its first virus-related death Friday: an individual older than 80. It’s not clear how that patient contracted the disease. 

 

Blaine County has the state’s highest number of county cases at 98; two deaths were reported there Thursday. Ada County has 75 cases and no reported deaths. Canyon County has the third highest count at 23, with one reported death.

March 27 - 3:31 p.m.

Gem County, in southwest Idaho, has reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19, according to Southwest District Health.

A male in his 20s tested positive and is recovering at home with mild symptoms. He had no known contact with other confirmed cases and health officials are investigating the source of transmission.

All household members are being asked to self-isolate at home, according to the health district.

 

March 27 - 2:50 p.m.

The North Central Health District reports a patient diagnosed with the novel coronavirus has passed away. The individual in Nez Perce County was older than 80 with age-related health issues. This case was a confirmed case prior to death. Epidemiologists are investigating how the patient contracted the illness. Including this death, there are five confirmed cases in the health district, four in Nez Perce and one in Idaho County. Yesterday, the state reported its first three deaths related to the virus.

March 26 - 5:15 p.m.

On Thursday the state of Idaho raised the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 189, after testing more than 2,800 people. The state tallied 86 cases in Blaine County, where officials yesterday added new restrictions to the statewide isolation orders. 

That Central Idaho county claimed 45% of the state totals, with Ada County carrying the second-highest caseload, or 53 cases, making up 28% of state totals. One of those COVID-19 cases, it was announced on Thursday by the Transportation Security Administration, is a baggage officer at the Boise Airport, who worked in the main terminal. The last day the person worked was a morning shift, from 4 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on Thursday March 19.

March 26 - 1:38 p.m.

Health officials have announced Idaho’s first three deaths due to coronavirus – 13 days after the state confirmed its first case of COVID-19. Full story here.

March 25 - 5:38 p.m.   

As Gov. Brad Little announced a stay-at-home order for the state, the state reports the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 50 today to a total of 123. The Panhandle Health District has nine cases in total, reporting one new case today: a man in his 40s from Kootenai County. The health district said one of its nine cases seems to be from community transmission because health officials can’t track it to travel or contact with a confirmed case.

Idaho North Central Health District announced its first case in Idaho County today, bringing that district's total to two. The Central Health District is reporting 15 more cases since yesterday. That district is reporting 39 total cases in Ada County, while the state website says that county has 37.

The South Central District Health Department is recording 63 cases in Blaine County as of yesterday. But the state is still recording 52 cases there today.

The Eastern Idaho Public Health reported two more cases in Fremont and Custer counties with one case tied to out-of-country travel and the second to travel to an area with community transmission. As of Wednesday evening, the state was not reporting the case in Custer County.

If the county cases (two in Ada, 11 in Blaine and one in Custer) from the health district cases are added to the state total, Boise State Public Radio calculates the case number in Idaho is 137. Almost 2,200 individuals have been tested for the virus at state and commercial labs. 

 

March 24 - 8:18 p.m.

In a press release Tuesday evening, Idaho North Central Health District confirmed the first positive test for coronavirus in New Perce County. The patient is an adult under the age of 60 who did not require hospitalization and is at home recovering. The point of transmission was not stated.

Public health officials are working to determine risk criteria for locations and contacts that may have been exposed to this individual. 

March 24 - 5:51 p.m.

Payette County has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, according to Southwest District Health. The largely rural county borders Oregon in southwest Idaho.

A woman in her 20s contracted it, experienced mild symptoms and recovered at home, according to the health district.

Officials are investigating how she was infected. Southwest District Helath asks household members and anyone who had prolonged exposure to anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate at home.

March 24 - 5 p.m.

At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the state of Idaho website for confirmed cases of COVID-19 was partially updated. The site states, “Idaho is currently reporting 73 cases,” which is up 13 from its count Monday. However, the accompanying table below this text was not updated. It’s still reporting yesterday’s total of 50.

 

Calculating each public health district’s tallies, the total case count in Idaho is at 87 at end of business on Tuesday. Eastern Idaho Public Health reported the first two confirmed cases in Jefferson County. Southeastern Idaho Public Health reported the first two cases in Bannock County. Southwest District Health announced the first confirmed case in Payette County.

 

The Panhandle Health District sent a press release announcing another two cases in Kootenai County. Central District Health and South Central Public Health District both reported an increase in case numbers — Ada County now has 24 and Blaine County has reached 40.

 

Idaho North Central Public Health District, which serves the counties of Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce, is the only public health district yet to report any confirmed cases of coronavirus.

 

March 24 - 1:28 p.m.  

Panhandle Health District has confirmed two more cases of novel coronavirus in North Idaho.

The cases are both in Kootenai County, which includes Coeur d’Alene.

One is a woman in her 20s and the other is a man in his 60s. Both are self-isolating at home.

Epidemiologists are investigating possible contacts with other people, according to the health district.

For more information, visit http://panhandlehealthdistrict.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Coronavirus_Cases-3.24.2020.pdf

 

March 24 - 11:15 a.m.

Eastern Idaho Public Health District has confirmed the first two cases of coronavirus in Jefferson County. This brings the total number of cases in this region to six.

The first confirmed case is a woman over the age of 65. She was not hospitalized and is self-isolating in her home. The point of transmission was connected with travel outside the country.

The second patient in Jefferson County to test positive for coronavirus is a male over the age of 65. He is self-isolating at home and has connected his case to travel out of the country.

Officials are currently investigating both of these cases further and will contact others who may have been exposed.

March 23 - 5:00 p.m.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Idaho has ticked up again. The state website is officially reporting a total of 50 cases, showing an additional case in Canyon County and two more in Ada County. But numbers are slightly higher according to the indivual public health districts.

Central District Health is reporting a total of 20 cases for Ada County, while South Central District Health is showing a total of 36 in Blaine County — more cases than the number currently reported by the state. Southwest District Health sent out a press release Monday afternoon that announced additional Canyon County cases, bringing the total there to five. Also left out of the state's Monday number report is the first confirmed case in Cassia County and the first two confirmed cases in Bannock County. Taking into consideration all of the numbers reported by public health districts, this brings the statewide total of coronavirus cases to 69.

March 23 - 1:40 p.m.  

Southeastern Idaho Public Health has confirmed two cases of COVID-19 in Bannock County.

These are the first two confirmed cases in the county, which is in southeastern Idaho and includes Pocatello.

Both patients are men in their 30s who have a history of travel, though an investigation is ongoing to determine how they got the virus, according to Southeastern Idaho Public Health. 

Both are recovering at their homes. It brings the total number of confirmed cases in Idaho to more than 60 (these numbers are changing fast and may be outdated). 

March 23 - 10:17 a.m.

 

South Central Public Health District and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare have announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Cassia County.

 

The individual who tested positive is a woman in her 70s who has been hospitalized. Officials say she hosted visitors in her home from areas with documented community spread, which is likely how she contracted her virus.

 

More information about the woman’s status and symptoms were not immediately available. 

March 22 - 5:30 p.m.

In the 9 days since Idaho’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, on March 13, the state has tallied 47 cases across the state, with the majority in Blaine and Ada counties. 

 

Other counties with more than one confirmed case are Madison and Teton counties in the east, Kootenai County in the north and Canyon County in the west. Twin Falls, Valley and Bingham counties have each reported a single case. 

 

To date, more than 1,300 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus in Idaho, most of them through the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories. 

March 20 - 5:20 p.m.

The Southeastern Idaho Public Health office has confirmed Bingham County’s first case of COVID-19. The case isn’t yet noted on the state’s website, and would bring Idaho’s total to 32.

March 20 - 5 p.m,

The state of Idaho saw another uptick of reported COVID-19 cases Friday bringing the state total to 31. So far, the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories has tested 692 individuals and commercial labs have tested another 219. Southwest District Health is poised to announce its first coronavirus case in Canyon County. Boise State University announced today one of its employees tested positive and the Ada County Courthouse was evacuated around 1 p.m., after the spouse of a worker there tested positive. The South Central Public Health District, which includes Blaine and Twin Falls County, remains the epicenter of the virus with 20 confirmed cases, the highest number in the state.

March 19 - 5:30 p.m.

Idaho Governor Brad Little has announced that there will be an isolation order in place for residents of Blaine County. That county reported 17 positive cases of COVID-19 so far, two of them healthcare providers.

Nearly all of these 12 new cases were found in people younger than 60 years old. They’re evenly split between men and women. It’s unclear whether they’ve been hospitalized or are recovering at home.

A spokeswoman from the South Central Public Health District didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking clarification.

Twenty-three cases have been confirmed statewide as of Thursday afternoon, including Idaho’s first in the panhandle

March 19 - 3:14 p.m.

North Idaho has now confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus. The Panhandle Health District and Kootenai Health say the patient is a male older than 60 in Kootenai County. Health officials say he has mild symptoms and he has been told to isolate. This is the 12th confirmed case in the state. Officials are still investigating contacts for possible exposure.

March 19 - 2:20 p.m.

The first case of community spread of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed in Idaho. South Central Public Health District and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced  Thursday afternoon, the patient is a male from Blaine County in his 40s — this is the same case Blaine County announced Wednesday afternoon. The individual had no out-of-state travel and no known contact with another person confirmed with COVID-19.  He has mild symptoms and is recovering at home. 

March 18 - 6:15 p.m. 

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has confirmed two new cases of coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 11.

Both are in south central Idaho, which is home to nearly half of the state's cases.

One is a man in his 80s from Twin Falls County, the first case in that county. He was briefly hospitalized, but is now recovering at home. The second is a man in his 40s from Blaine County. He displayed mild symptoms, health officials said, and is also recovering at home.

The South Central Public Health District said the four other women in Blaine County who contracted the disease are still recovering well. Officials believe three of them received it from visitors to the area, while the origin of the fourth is under investigation. 

March 17 - 6:29 p.m.

South Central Public Health District announced a fourth confirmed case of COVID-19 in Blaine County. This is the state's ninth confirmed case.

The patient is a female  over the age of 80. She is recovering in a local hospital under isolation. The point of transmission remains under investigation.

March 17 - 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday afternoon Eastern Idaho Public Health confirmed the first positive case of novel coronavirus in Madison County. This is the state’s eighth case. The individual is a male BYU-Idaho student in his 20s with recent out-of-state travel to a COVID-19 affected area.

The individual is recovering with mild symptoms in his Rexburg apartment. The patient became symptomatic on March 8, returned to Madison County on March 11 and stayed in his apartment until seeing his medical provider on March 12.

March 17 - 2:53 p.m.

Eastern Idaho Public Health has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in Madison County, bringing the statewide total at this time to eight. More details about the case will be announced in a press conference in the County Commissioner's Chamber at the Madison County Courthouse at 5 p.m.

Tuesday, March 17 - 9:52 a.m.

South Central Public Health has confirmed a new case of COVID-19 in Blaine County. The patient if a woman over the age of 50 who did not require hospitalization. As soon as she began showing symptoms, the individual self isolated. The point of transmission is still under investigation.

Tuesday, March 17 - 9:48 a.m.

Central District Health has announced Ada County's third confirmed case of COVID-19. The patient is a woman from Ada County under the age of 50. She reported mild symptoms that did not require hospitalization. She reamins in isolation at home and has indicated possible travel-related transmission.

Saturday, March 14 - 8:21 p.m.

The second Blaine County resident confirmed by South Central Public Health to have tested positive for COVID-19 is a woman over the age of 70. She is currently being hospitalized for her symptoms and is recovering. At this time, officials are still trying to determine how the patient contracted the virus.

DARIN OSWALD / Idaho Statesman


Idaho Matters begins today with Governor Brad Little’s noon press conference, outlining his response to layoffs, a tightened state budget and strapped small businesses amid the coronavirus crisis. 

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As more and more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed around the world and here in Idaho, there is a critical shortage of PPE, or personal protective equipment. Medical professionals are pleading for more supplies as they help people infected with the coronavirus. 

Boise State Public Radio


The coronavirus is reaching deeper into Idaho as the number of confirmed cases continue to rise. In the midst of all this, Facebook is becoming the meeting space for information and community support.

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Between the coronavirus and the Idaho State Legislature, this week has been one of the most news-heavy the state has seen in a while. 

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There are now cases of coronavirus in all 50 states. With no definitive federal orders but rather recommendations, states and localities have been left to their own to decide how to handle the pandemic in their area. Idaho has made no statewide restrictions but has announced guidelines for folks. 

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Boise State Public Radio

Today, in collaboration with Minnesota Public Radio, we offered listeners the opportunity to call into the live show with their questions about Coronavirus. Experts from the Mayo Clinic answered questions from listeners across the country.  

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UPDATE: Saturday, March 14 - 1:55 p.m.

Saturday afternoon, Idaho State University students received an email from university president Kevin Satterlee that stated the woman confirmed as Idaho's first positive COVID-19 case is a student at ISU's Meridian campus.

Idaho Department of Transportation

 


Come October 1, Idaho residents will need extra identification in order to board a flight or access a federal building. 

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UPDATE: March 13, 4:45 p.m. Since this segment aired, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced the first case of COVID-19 in Idaho. Click here to learn more

Between Coronavirus and the Idaho Legislature, there's lots to discuss on this week's Reporter Roundtable. Listen to hear reporter Don Day from BoiseDev, Scott McIntosh and Cynthia Sewell from the Idaho Statesman along with James Dawson and Frankie Barnhill of Boise State Public Radio to break down this week in news. 

Gov. Brad Little and leaders in the Idaho House and Senate have made contingency plans for a hasty end to the legislative session should someone in the Statehouse get the new coronavirus. Little said Thursday that aggregating lawmakers from all 44 of Idaho's counties as well as drawing in visitors is not the best scenario. Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke said budget bills are being expedited because they need to be passed before the Legislature can adjourn. He's considering having lawmakers work on Saturday.

Idaho lawmakers are moving quickly to bolster the state's ability to fight the new coronavirus. The Senate voted 35-0 Wednesday to approve a request from Republican Gov. Brad Little for $2 million to go into an emergency fund for use around the state. Some of the money will be used by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to test for the virus. The legislation now goes to the House. Republican Sen. Steve Bair told senators that an expected $4 million in federal funds is more than a month away. No one in Idaho has tested positive for the virus so far.

John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool

Lori Vallow had her first court appearance in Idaho Friday. The Idaho woman is facing charges in the disappearance of her two children.

reporter roundtable
ETHAN WEBBER / BOISE STATE PUBLIC RADIO

This week's Reporter Roundtable has a little bit of everything from the week's news: abortion funding at the state legislature, possible restrictions for transgender athletes in Idaho, state officials preparing for coronavirus spread and the arraingment of an Eastern Idaho woman in connection to the disappearance of her children. 

Boise State University says four students from South Korea participating in a school program are in self-isolation for 14 days in Boise. The school in a statement Thursday says the students cleared a health screening for the new coronavirus after arriving in Seattle on Monday. The virus causes the disease called COVID-19. School spokesman Greg Hahn says the four students are staying in an apartment in a complex owned by the university. He says they're able to take classes online.

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The City of Boise has joined a number of other Idaho communities to ban the use of hand-held devices while driving.


One week from today, there will be a hearing at the Idaho Capitol. On any given day during the legislative session, there are many hearings and on rare occasions, emotions can surface.

But the hearing before the Senate State Affairs Committee will undoubtedly be very emotional. That's when lawmakers will consider a resolution to establish a day of awareness for missing and murdered indigenous people in Idaho.

Idaho Statesman

Newsroom employees at the Idaho Statesman announced plans Monday to form a union — the first in the paper's history.


Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

 


This Wednesday, the Gem State is celebrating “Idaho Day,” a nod to the day when President Abraham Lincoln created what was then the Idaho Territory.

reporter roundtable
ETHAN WEBBER / BOISE STATE PUBLIC RADIO

Today on the Idaho Matters Reporter Roundtable, Boise State Public Radio's Heath Druzin, KIVI's Mike Sharp and BoiseDev's Don Day chat legislature news and more. 

There's a new statehouse measure that would bring Idaho in line with the new national age for the purchase of tobacco products. As George Prentice reports, the bill made its way through a Senate committee this week by a razor-thin margin.


reporter roundtable
ETHAN WEBBER / BOISE STATE PUBLIC RADIO

With the Idaho legislature in full swing, there is much to discuss on this week's Reporter Roundtable. 

AP

Police say an 87-year-old man opened fire on three women at a senior citizens' apartment complex in Caldwell, killing one and injuring two before fatally shooting himself.

reporter roundtable
ETHAN WEBBER / BOISE STATE PUBLIC RADIO

Happy Valentine's Day Reporter Roundtable! Today we're joined by Boise State Public Radio's Madelyn Beck, Idaho Ed News's Kevin Richert and the Idaho Statesman's Nicole Foy. They break down what happened at the Idaho state legislature this week as a flurry of bills received initial hearings.

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