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Idaho coronavirus updates: April 20-21

See COVID-19 news and updates from April 20-21 as we work to spread facts, not fear.

BOISE, Idaho — To see the latest live updates on coronavirus in Idaho, click here.

Tuesday, April 21

6:17 p.m. - Idaho''s statewide cases grow with more deaths confirmed

The latest numbers from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare show there are now 51 deaths due to COVID-19, up from 48 on Monday, 1,661 confirmed cases, and 710 people are presumed to have recovered from the coronavirus.

2:39 p.m. - Ada County reducing arrests to prevent COVID-19 outbreak in jail

The Ada County Sheriff's Office is writing citations instead of making arrests for non-violent misdemeanors as part of an attempt to book fewer people into jail. 

The efforts to reduce arrest began in mid-March, and just over a month, the jail population has dropped from 1,054 to 784. The number of bookings per day has also decreased - from an average of 43 per day between January and April 2019 to 27 per day for the same period in 2020. In April, the jail has averaged just eight new inmates each day.

"Our jail staff has also been working closely with the 4th District Court, defense attorneys, and prosecutors to resolve as many cases as possible – with an emphasis on community safety," the sheriff's office wrote.

All new inmates are screened for coronavirus before they enter the jail, and the facility has had zero confirmed cases as of Tuesday, April 21. Multiple inmates have been tested for the virus. 

RELATED: Here's how the Ada County Jail would deal with a coronavirus outbreak

Jail employees are also required to undergo health screenings each day before they enter. The sheriff's office also says there is plenty of soap, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies for both inmates and staff.

11:56 a.m. - Boise State employees facing furloughs

Boise State will place staff and faculty on furlough after financial losses due to the coronavirus. BSU President Dr. Marlene Tromp says the university has lost more than $10 million between refunding student fees and canceling planned events. 

The unpaid furloughs will apply to all 12-month employees who make more than $40,000 per year, and range from four days to ten days.

10:55 a.m. -- Melba cancels Independence Day celebration

Melba's Fourth of July celebration will be canceled this year due to the spread of coronavirus.

Lindy Bahem, chairperson of the Melba "Olde Tyme" 4th of July nonprofit, wrote that the decision was a difficult one, but that organizers had to make the health and safety of Melba residents the priority.

"We know this decision will affect many businesses and families, but please continue to celebrate the Fourth of July this year with your families and friends, when and where you can," Bahem wrote. "We will be back next year, strong and ready to celebrate the freedoms we all share."

Monday, April 20

Click here for previous daily updates. 

5:10 p.m. -- Two more coronavirus-related deaths reported in Ada County

Statewide, there have now been 1,639 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 48 deaths.

2:55 p.m. -- Elmore County reporting its first coronavirus-related death

Central District Health Department reports that an Elmore County woman in her 60s with severe underlying health conditions has died. She had tested positive for COVID-19.

10:35 a.m. -- ValleyRide gets $20 million grant for coronavirus relief

The ValleyRide bus system is getting a $20 million grant as part of the federal CARES Act, the Federal Transit Administration announced.

Valley Regional Transit will use the money to maintain its bus, paratransit, and vanpool service, pay wages and leave for employees, and buy cleaning supplies. The grant will also be used for longer-term capital projects.

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

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