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Idaho coronavirus updates: April 13-14

See the latest on the COVID-19 outbreak news from April 13-14.

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

Tuesday, April 14

9:01 p.m. - Risch leads the charge on the investigation into WHO's pandemic response

One week after Idaho Sen. Jim Risch called for an investigation into the World Health Organization over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, it looks like he's getting his wish. On Tuesday, President Trump announced a plan to halt U.S. payments to the WHO pending a review of its warnings about the coronavirus and China. Risch, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke with KTVB about his role in the investigation, saying, "At the very least, we oughta insist that they perform properly."

5:26 p.m. - Three additional deaths reported in Twin Falls County, bringing statewide total to 39

South Central Public Health District is reporting three additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 infections, bringing the county's total death toll to 7. Nez Perce County also reported three new deaths, bringing that county's total to 9. Statewide, 39 people have died. There have been 1,466 confirmed cases, an increase of just 11 since Monday. However, the state is also reporting an additional 28 new probable cases. See a county-by-county case breakdown and other interactive graphs in our map and timeline.   

4:45 p.m. - Idaho Republican Party chairman: "Reopen Idaho"

Former U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, now the Idaho GOP chair, issued a statement saying he has been urging Gov. Brad Little and other state officials to "devise a step-by-step plan to open up our state." Labrador writes that extending the current stay-at-home order without modifications and "keeping our economy closed for an additional period of time will impose real costs on Idaho families that will be felt for years to come." He also writes that the state's decision should be based on "a complete analysis of the costs to our society and not just COVID-19 models."

2:58 p.m. - Resident at Boise nursing home dies from COVID-19, 14 staff and residents either test positive for virus or are probable cases

A resident of a Boise skilled care facility has died due to COVID-19 related illness, according to Central District Health. The woman was in her 60s with underlying health conditions. (Note, CDH previously reported the woman was in her 80s). The woman was a resident of Avamere Transitional Care and Rehab. According to CDH, 14 additional staff members and residents have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are probable cases. Any other residents or staff associated with this care center who develop symptoms will be counted as probable cases, officials said. To date, seven Ada County residents confirmed to have COVID-19 and two with probable COVID-19 have died. See a county-by-county case breakdown and other interactive graphs in our map and timeline.  

2:33 p.m. -- Nampa City Council will hold special meeting Wed., April 15

Mayor Debbie Kling and city council members plan to discuss the next steps related to the city's current state of emergency and Nampa-specific restrictions pending modification to Gov. Little’s ‘stay-home’ order. 

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. The full agenda can be viewed here.

2:16 p.m. - Gov. Little: Idaho has enough PPE supply right now

Gov. Brad Little on Tuesday morning visited the staging area in Boise where the state is accepting and distributing thousands of medical supplies provided by private donors, the federal government, and other sources. 

According to the governor's office, right now, there are enough supplies in stock to meet the projected demand for another two weeks based on mitigation strategies currently in place. Idaho can secure additional resources as needed. Here's a look at what's left in Idaho's stockpile.

1:31 p.m. -- Boise Salvation Army offers free emergency childcare for emergency responders and healthcare workers

The Salvation Army in Boise is offering free temporary childcare for the school-aged children of first responders and healthcare workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Because many parents of infants and toddlers also need childcare, the Salvation Army has partnered with New Horizons Academy to provide care for those ages at a reduced cost.

The childcare will be available Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. for kids in kindergarten through 6th grade, and from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for infants and pre-K children. All meals will be provided.

"The Salvation Army stands ready to do its part in support of our dedicated first responders and health care workers", said Major Michael Halverson.

12:50 p.m. -- Gov. Brad Little: "We have flattened the curve, but we haven't brought it down." 

In a telephonic town hall hosted by the AARP, the governor indicated that a new executive order to be announced at 11 a.m. Wednesday will include "metrics" regarding what the state needs to see before stay-at-home and social distancing directives are eased. He did not indicate any plans to ease or lift a statewide stay-at-home order when the current order expires just before midnight Wednesday.

The governor also said $1.25 billion in federal funds are set to arrive in Idaho on April 24

7:49 a.m. -- Eagle church members sewing masks for those in need

Volunteers from the Eagle Christian Church have given away more than 1,000 homemade protective masks to healthcare workers and businesses. The masks have been distributed around the Treasure Valley and to other states to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

In case you missed it: A Nampa woman shared her story after she was the first person to recover from coronavirus at St. Luke's Nampa. She was on a ventilator for two weeks.  

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.

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."

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.

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 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.

Click here for previous daily updates.

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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