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Idaho coronavirus updates: April 12-13

See the latest on the COVID-19 outbreak news from April 12-13.

BOISE, Idaho — Click here for the latest daily updates.

Monday, April 13

7:57 p.m. - In case you missed it - 80 million Americans should get stimulus checks by Wednesday, the Treasury Department said. Plus, Idaho appears to be flattening the curve, but there's no rush to reopen the state's economy just yet. And city leaders are taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to what will happen if Gov. Little decides to let his stay-at-home order expire on Wednesday.

7:25 p.m. - Idaho State Board of Education breaks down CARES Act funding for colleges and universities

Idaho's higher education institutions are expected to receive $36 million in federal relief funding as a result of the CARES Act approved by Congress and signed by the president last month.

According to a Board spokesman, half of that money - $18 million - must be used as direct emergency financial aid grants to students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption and financial hardship it has created for students across Idaho. The colleges and universities have discretion in how the funding is allocated to students.

Here's a breakdown, according to the Board, of how CARES Act funds will be distributed to Idaho's public institutions (note the first number after the college/university name is the total allocation, the second number is the amount of funding available for emergency financial aid for students):

  • Boise State University - $10,937,516; $5,468,758
  • Idaho State University - $7,097,839; $3,548,920
  • University of Idaho - $6,905,295; $3,452,648
  • College of Western Idaho - $4,030,648; $2,015,324
  • North Idaho College - $2,161,877; $1,080,939
  • College of Southern Idaho - $2,076,917; $1,038,459
  • Lewis-Clark State College - $1,979,771; $989,886
  • College of Eastern Idaho - $985,694; $492,847

5:12 p.m. - Gov. Little tours Idaho State Laboratory, says he hasn't made a decision on extending stay-at-home order

Gov. Brad Little toured the Idaho State Laboratory Monday afternoon. It is one of many public and private labs conducting testing of possible COVID-19 samples.

In an interview released by the governor's office, Little said there has not been enough testing in Idaho due to a lack of necessary supplies, but noted that state officials are leaving "no stone unturned" in an effort to procure supplies needed for testing.

The governor also said he has not yet made a decision on whether to extend Idaho's stay-at-home order, which is set to expire on Wednesday, adding that he is gathering information available from "all of the collective science," before making a decision.

"What we don't want is to have another wave [of coronavirus cases]," he said. "I'm very concerned about the economic impact but if you have another wave, it could be more devastating than the first one and I want people to have confidence that we're doing the right thing. So the decision that we're gonna make in the next couple days is gonna be based on how do we prevent another wave and do the best we can to protect the longterm safety and the economic resilience of the state of Idaho."

RELATED: Idaho facing backlog of COVID-19 tests; Gov. Little still weighing possible extension of stay-at-home order

Little is scheduled to host a news conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. to provide updates on the stay-at-home order. KTVB will carry it live.

The Idaho State Laboratory in Boise has expanded its testing capacity and can now process up to 200 samples each day, according to Dr. Christopher Ball, laboratory bureau chief for Idaho Bureau of Laboratories.

Ball said the goal is to test and return results as quickly as possible. Most results are returned within 24 hours and some are same-day. However, he noted that there is a statewide backlog for testing.

"There is very much a high level of demand that outstrips the supply," Ball said. "The primary barrier we're facing, and I think all testing laboratories are facing, is access to the supply chain for the materials needed for testing. It's a constant struggle to make sure we can get all of the testing re-agents and sampling materials that we need to keep up with the demand."

5:01 p.m. - Ada County reports another death, now 33 statewide

Central District Health has confirmed another death in Ada County associated with the novel coronavirus, bringing the county's total deaths to 9. Statewide, 33 people have died from complications related to COVID-19. There have now been 1,455 cases confirmed statewide since the start of the outbreak. See a county-by-county case breakdown and other interactive graphs in our map and timeline. 

4:01 p.m. - Death reported in Nez Perce County

North Central Health District is reporting another death in Nez Perce County associated with COVID-19, bringing the county's death toll to 6. The county has had 20 confirmed cases, while the state has had 1435.

2:55 p.m. - SWDH confirms first death in Payette County

Southwest District Health has confirmed the first death associated with COVID-19 in Payette County. According to the health district, the person was a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions. "Our thoughts and sympathies are with this individual's family and friends," said Nikki Zogg, district director for SWDH.

The death was first reported last week on state and SWDH websites but was removed a couple of days later when the epidemiological investigation showed the cause of death had not yet been confirmed, officials said. The death was added back onto both websites once COVID-19 was confirmed as a contributing factor.

As of Monday afternoon, SWDH is reporting 168 total cases in its six-county region. In addition to the death in Payette County, there have been five additional confirmed deaths associated with the virus, all of which were in Canyon County:

  • A male in his 80s from Canyon County; hospitalized with underlying medical conditions
  • A male in his 70s from Canyon County; hospitalized with underlying medical conditions
  • A female in her 80s from Canyon County; hospitalized with underlying medical conditions but discharged to home on hospice
  • A male in his 80s from Canyon County; hospitalized; underlying medical conditions unknown
  • A male in his 70s from Canyon County; hospitalized with underlying medical conditions 

See a county-by-county case breakdown and other interactive graphs in our map and timeline. 

2:06 p.m. -- Gas prices expected to hit $2 mark in Idaho

Coronavirus-related travel restrictions and the large number of people working from home are sending gas prices tumbling further in Idaho. The state average is currently $2.02 per gallon, with prices expected to hit or drop below $2 as early as Tuesday.

Prices in the Gem State are now 53 cents lower than a month ago, and 72 lower than a year ago. But Idaho fuel costs are still higher than the national average, which fell to $1.86 Monday. 

12:06 p.m. -- Governor Little to host press conference on Wednesday, April 15 

The governor will discuss the 21-day stay-home order at 11 a.m. 

In an interview with Doug Petcash for Viewpoint, the governor did not say definitively or not whether he planned to extend the order.

We will carry the governor's press conference live on KTVB and KTVB.COM.

11:49 a.m. Dept. of Labor adjusting phone times to speed up claims

The Idaho Department of Labor is adjusting its phone times to try to get help fast to hundreds of unemployed Idahoans.

The department will now accept incoming calls from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and reserve the hours of 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for processing claims. That will free up staff to return calls, resolve issues with payment, and get claims through the system faster.

"Our goal is [to] serve Idahoans as quickly as possible through this difficult time, and adjusting our phone schedule means we can focus on processing claims so Idahoans will receive their benefit payments sooner. This move reduces wait times for phone calls and click to chat interactions," said Labor Director Jani Revier in a release. 

The department has also hired an additional 12 claims specialists and reassigned other staff to process claims. Nearly 78,000 people in Idaho have filed claims since mid-March, according to data released Thursday.

Sunday, April 12

In case you missed it, take a look into our discussion with small business employees who are not covered by insurance companies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

5:19 p.m. - The state announces 19 more confirmed cases, bringing the statewide total to 1,426

Officials also announced there have been 132 hospitalizations and 38 people are in the ICU. The total number of people tested is now at 14,881, up from Saturday's 14,308.

See a county-by-county case breakdown and other interactive graphs in our map and timeline.

At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage and the latest COVID-19 case numbers, visit our coronavirus section here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus    

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