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Idaho coronavirus updates: May 22-May 24

See the Idaho coronavirus updates from May 22-24 as we work to spread the facts, not fear.

BOISE, Idaho — For the latest Idaho coronavirus updates, click here. 

We're closely tracking Idaho's number of deaths and cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as well as what's happening as Idaho continues to reopen

New confirmed COVID-19 Idaho cases and recoveries, closures, reopening plan details and resources to help could be announced every day. We have multiple graphs and timelines looking at the coronavirus case trends in Idaho, including a new graph showing a 14-day average that the State of Idaho is tracking to determine when the Gem State can move to the next reopening stage. 

Click here for previous daily updates.

Sunday, May 24

In case you missed it:

Saturday, May 23

5:00 p.m.- Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare updated the states COVID-19 numbers. Idaho has 2,626 confirmed cases and is reporting that 1,735 people have recovered. No new deaths were reported.

Friday, May 22

8:45 p.m. - Idaho's official website reports 2,595 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Friday with 61 new confirmed and probable cases and two deaths in Twin Falls County. Late Friday South Central District Health added an additional 44 cases in their area. 

Credit: KTVB
The graph shows a huge spike in confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Idaho.

Probable cases are people with symptoms who haven't tested positive but have had contact with someone who has tested positive.

Friday's updated numbers show the biggest jump in confirmed COVID-19 cases for a single day in over a month.

Idaho is currently reporting 79 deaths (two new reported in Twin Falls County), and 1,735 recovered. 

Earlier this week South Central District Health reported the likelihood of an increase in cases due to increased testing.

See a comprehensive breakdown of case numbers by county and timelines tracking Idaho's coronavirus case trends in our interactive map and timeline. 

3:45 p.m. - Cluster of COVID-19 cases confirmed at food processing plants in Jerome County

South Central Public Health District officials says at least 30 people have tested positive for COVID-19, all within one cluster in Jerome County. It marks one of the largest jumps the region has seen in several weeks.

"Some organizations are now offering the opportunity for companies with a cluster of cases to test their entire employee base. We welcome the opportunity to get a better picture of the spread of this virus in our region," said Melody Bowyer, SCPHD Director.

As cluster testing increases in the region, SCPHD expects to see a focus on employees of food processing plants.

"We are in an area where agriculture is the dominant industry and food processing plants are a huge part of that," said Logan Hudson, SCPHD Public Health Division Administrator. "The nature of some of these jobs require people to work closely together, making social distancing difficult. Respiratory viruses, like COVID-19, are in the perfect environment to spread rapidly."

SCPHD continues to urge companies to be flexible with their leave policies and encourage sick employees to stay home. In situations where a cluster of cases has been identified, SCPHD has recommended facilities screen employees for illness, instruct employees to stay home when sick, and implement social distancing measures, if they haven't already.

South Central Public Health District is running two hotlines for information about COVID-19. One in English at (208) 737-1138, and one in Spanish, at (208) 737-5965. These hotlines are currently running from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

12:50 p.m. Gov. Little, health officials discuss plan for COVID-19 testing

Gov. Brad Little and health officials laid out Idaho's plan to ramp up coronavirus testing and make sure supplies and tests are getting to the people and areas where they are most needed. 

The coronavirus task force's recommendations include investing in local testing capacity, expanding molecular diagnostic tests to figure out who is infected, and laying out priority levels for who should be tested first. 

Little also spoke about the work the state is doing to get needed medical supplies for the so-called "testing deserts" in rural parts of the state. 

Officials cautioned that testing is not a "stand-alone solution," and must be coupled with contact tracing, physical distancing and personal hygiene to be effective.

For the full story on the press conference, click here.

11:01 a.m. St. Luke's FitOne to go virtual this year

Idaho's largest one-day running event will take place virtually this year because of coronavirus concerns. The St. Luke's FitOne 5k, 10k, and half-marathon was originally set for Sept. 26.

Instead, organizers will hold a series of online challenges leading up to race week. 

The race's change to virtual will allow participants to spread out across the community, instead of being grouped together in a crowd. FitOne draws about 12,000 people every year.

"These uncertain times call for all of us to pull together as a community and explore some of our favorite activities in new ways," said Eric Stride, Executive Director of St. Luke's FitOne. "We are facing the challenge with innovation, bringing our community together online to share health and inspiration."

More information about the virtual event will be released in the coming weeks, according to St. Luke's.

See our interactive map and timeline of COVID-19 cases in Idaho.

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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