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Idaho coronavirus updates: May 15-19

See our daily updates in Idaho from May 15-19 as we work to separate facts from 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.

Tuesday, May 19

9:44 p.m. - In case you missed it:

8:15 p.m. - Bird e-scooters to return to Boise on Wednesday

Bird e-scooters will once again be seen cruising around the City of Trees. The company announced that it is resuming service in Boise starting on Wednesday.

All e-scooters were warehoused when Idaho's stay-at-home order went into effect. Now that the order is lifted, the scooters are returning.

"We know bikes and Birds can add a lot of good by facilitating essential tasks like commutes, grocery shopping, and medical appointments," the company said in a news release. "We look forward to continuing to offer a safe transportation option as Boise communities gradually reopen."

RELATED: What happened to all the electric scooters in Boise?

Bird also announced that it is offering free rides to healthcare workers and emergency personnel in Boise.

7:01 p.m. - Nampa waives permit fees for businesses

The Nampa City Council has voted unanimously to temporarily waive the cost of certain permit fees. The goal of waiving the fees, according to Mayor Debbie Kling, is to support business recovery. 

"I'm very pleased to receive unanimous support from the Nampa City Council members to waive specific license fees to help our small businesses get going again," Kling said in a statement. "The goal is to remove hurdles and provide a simple solution during this time. Our small businesses are vital to our economy and we want to see them succeed."

To assist businesses, the temporary parking use permit fee has been temporarily waived for the next six months, allowing businesses to expand capacity beyond their interior space. Catering permits allowing businesses to serve alcohol off-premise have also been waived for the next six months. Fees for peddler licenses, used by food trucks, local pest control, landscaping and other companies, have been waived for the next three months. 

More information on the waived fees can be found here.

5:05 p.m. - Two additional deaths reported in Twin Falls County; Small increase in new confirmed cases statewide

Twin Falls County reported two additional deaths related to COVID-19 infections, health officials said, bringing the county's toll to 17. The county also reported a death on Monday. Statewide, there have been 77 deaths. Idaho saw an increase of just 17 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 2,256. The state is also reporting an additional 220 "probable" cases. So far, 1,668 people have recovered from the virus.

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

3:17 p.m. - Increased testing expected to bring an increase in confirmed cases across south-central Idaho

South Central Public Health District expects to see an increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their region due to an increase in cluster testing.

The health district, which currently leads the state in confirmed cases, covers Blaine County, which saw an early and large spike in confirmed cases, and Twin Falls County which has seen an increase in confirmed cases in recent weeks.

Health officials are urging the community to stay vigilant in protecting themselves against the virus after reports of people ignoring safety guidelines in the region have surfaced.

"if you walk into a restaurant and it is crowded - leave," said South Central Public Health District Epidemiologist, Tanis Maxwell. "If your employer asks you to work when you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, remind them that it could put more employees at risk of illness. Take steps to protect your health in every environment."

South Central Public Health District has two hotlines for anyone seeking more information about COVID-19 in the district. One in English at 208-737-1138, and one in Spanish at 208-737-5965.

2:19 p.m. - Most of Idaho's coronavirus deaths were at long-term care facilities

Idaho's governor said Tuesday that the majority of the COVID-19 deaths in Idaho happened at long-term care facilities. More than half - 42 of the 75 deaths - were associated with such a facility, Gov. Brad Little said. 

Health officials have stressed that the virus is particularly dangerous for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

10:53 a.m. -- Gov. Little to hold another telephone town hall

Idaho Gov. Brad Little will hold another telephone town hall Tuesday at noon to answer Idahoans' questions about the coronavirus. The town hall is sponsored by the AARP and is set to last about an hour. Anyone who want to participate can call in at 866-767-0637 or register in advance here.

Monday, May 18

9:55 p.m. -- In case you missed it:

5:16 p.m. -- Two additional deaths confirmed in Ada, Twin Falls counties

Health officials are reporting two new deaths - one in Ada County and one in Twin Falls County - attributed to COVID-19. Ada County's death toll now stands at 23 while Twin Falls County's toll stands at 15. Statewide, 75 people have died and there have been 2,234 confirmed cases. The state is also reporting an additional 221 "probable cases. 1,649 people have recovered from the virus.

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

Sunday, May 17

In case you missed it:

  • Many Idaho campgrounds are eyeing Memorial Day weekend as a target date to reopen, while others started phased openings May 16 and 17. See our full story here. 
  • An online article by Forbes said Boise is one of the ten in the best position to recover from the economic body blow dealt by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the shutdowns aimed at slowing the spread. Read the full article by KTVB here.
  • Boise-based Gravity Payments has been able to track what people are spending their money on since the coronavirus pandemic hit in mid-March. It includes a lot of bicycles, alcohol and guns. See our full story here. 

Note: Healthcare and state coronavirus numbers are no longer updated on Sundays.

Saturday, May 16

7 p.m. - Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports over two dozen confirmed and probable cases

The State of Idaho now reports 2,203 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Idaho. The Department of Health and Welfare reports 2,419 confirmed and probable cases in the Gem State. The number of recovered cases jumped from 1,588 on Friday to 1,612 on Saturday.

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

9 a.m. - Many restaurants, gyms, hair salons reopen

Starting Saturday, May 16, restaurants, salons, and gyms can reopen if they meet the state's health safety requirements. See our full story here.

Friday, May 15

5 p.m. - State of Idaho reports 38 new confirmed and probable cases

Thirty of those new cases are confirmed. The total number of confirmed cases since March 13 stands at 2,187. Twin Falls County reported one death Friday, bringing the statewide toll to 73.

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

3:30 p.m. - Restaurants at The Village at Meridian planning to open their door again

As Idaho enters the next step of phased reopening, The Village at Meridian and its tenants work to continue to meet the proper standards set forward by the state and local government. 

Restaurants in The Village at Meridian with plans to open their dining rooms this weekend are as follows:

Saturday:

  • Kona Grill
  • Yard House
  • Twigs
  • Grimaldi's
  • Donut + Dog
  • Bodovino
  • Blaze Pizza
  • Chipotle 
  • Bite Me

Sunday:

• Big Al's

Also reopening in Stage 2 will be Axiom, Cycle Bar, and Panache Aveda Salon and Spa. 

"We are excited to welcome the public back to The Village at Meridian to enjoy their favorite shops and restaurants but consider the health and safety of our visitors to be our number one priority," said Hugh Crawford, General Manager of The Village at Meridian.  

11:35 a.m. - Boise National Forest to open some lower elevation campgrounds Memorial Day weekend

As Idaho begins to rebound from COVID-19 and warmer weather entices visitors, the Boise National Forest is working hard to open some lower elevation campgrounds for the Memorial Day weekend.  

As a reminder, our developed campgrounds are currently closed.

"We are asking visitors to avoid our developed campgrounds so crews can work as quickly as possible to open sites for the Memorial Day weekend," said Danelle Highfill, Boise National Forest recreation manager. "It is an issue of public safety. Crews routinely need to drop hazard trees that have been damaged because of snow load, and they can't do that if the campsites are occupied."

The COVID-19 situation has delayed preparation for the normal campground openings that take place in mid to late May. 

Some developed campgrounds will be opened with limited services if water testing and repairs are delayed or extensive.

Visitors should know that the majority of the forest is still open for public access. Trails and trailheads remain open. Please remember to avoid congregating at trailheads and/or parking areas and refrain from gathering in groups of 10 or more.

"Dispersed camping is open throughout the forest except for two locations in the Silver Creek area," Highfill said. "We want to encourage visitors to pack out their trash, practice "Leave no Trace" land use principles, and social distance when recreating on the forest. Most of all, we are asking the public to be patient for a couple more weeks."

You can make campground reservations online

Stay up to date on Boise National Forest closures.

10:30 a.m. - Idaho Power to open more parks, boat ramps Friday

Idaho Power will reopen several parks, boat launches and day-use areas on Friday, May 15 that have been closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developed campgrounds in Hells Canyon and at C.J. Strike Reservoir south of Mountain Home remain closed. The company has begun a phased reopening of its recreation sites to provide public access while encouraging visitors to safely follow social distancing guidelines. Some sites will be monitored to avoid overcrowding.

Restrooms remain closed, but portable toilets have been installed at most locations. Openings could be delayed if necessary for safety reasons.

The following sites are expected to open on Friday:

• Hells Canyon area: Hells Canyon Park boat launch, Copperfield boat launch, Oxbow boat launch, Old Carter's Landing, McCormick Park boat launch, Oxbow and Hells Canyon Reservoir dispersed campsites
• C.J. Strike: North Park boat launch and day-use area, Jack's Creek boat launch and dispersed campsites
• Hagerman area: Bliss Park, Malad Fountain Park, Lower Salmon raft launch, Lower Salmon Falls Park, Lower Salmon boat launch
• Other areas: Swan Falls downstream campsites (downstream boat launch remains closed), Milner whitewater put-in, American Falls Park

Click here for previous daily updates.

RELATED: 'It's huge': North Idaho gyms, salons prepare to open this weekend

RELATED: Central District Health inspector details what he will look for when restaurants open Saturday

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, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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