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Idaho coronavirus updates: July 13-17

Follow along as we track the latest Idaho coronavirus updates from July 13-17.

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 reopens. Scroll down to see our live updates from each 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 has been tracking to determine the appropriate reopening stage. 

Click here for previous daily updates.

Friday, July 17

8:42 p.m. - Over 600 cases reported, 5 new deaths

Idaho and public health districts reported 570 confirmed and 31 probable cases on Friday, putting Idaho's statewide confirmed cases at 12,988 and 13,752 confirmed and probable cases.

Two new deaths were reported in Ada and Canyon counties and one more in Bingham County, putting the state's death toll at 119.

3,827 recoveries were reported. 16,821 tested were completed, down from 21,556 the week before, and had a 14.5% positivity rate, up from 11.3% the week before.

9:39 a.m.- Idaho Department of Corrections confirms 694 positive COVID-19 cases; Inmates now permitted to go outside for recreation time

The Idaho Dept. of Corrections confirmed 694 positive COVID-19 cases within the facility. 61 of those positives displayed symptoms and 633 people were asymptomatic. 

74 staff member are currently out of work due to COVID-19.

Inmates were previously not allowed to be outside for recreation time, but IDOC announced on Friday that inmates will not be allowed to go outside in small groups. Walking and other socially distant activities will be permitted, but inmates will not have access to weights or other physical outdoor equipment.

9:09 a.m.- St. Luke's asks public not to utilize emergency departments for COVID-19 testing

St. Luke's is asking the public to avoid utilizing the hospital's emergency departments for COVID-19 testing. A press release from St. Luke's stated that testing is only available by appointment at certain area clinics.

People have been coming to St. Luke's to obtain a COVID-19 test, often with subtle or no symptoms, according to the press release.

"Due to the rise in moderate to severe COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization, it is critical to protect the valuable and limited resources in Emergency Departments," the press release stated.

St. Luke's said they have expanded their testing capacity to local area clinics to allow those with symptoms to be tested, as well as increasing testing volume at one clinic specifically used for staff testing.

9:00 a.m.- 2020 Trailing of the Sheep Festival canceled

The Trailing of the Sheep festival board of directors announced on Friday that the annual festival set to take place in October has been canceled.

Each year, the festival celebrates a 150-year-old tradition of moving sheep from high ground in the mountains to grazing fields in preparation for winter. This would have been the 24th year the festival has taken place.

The decision was made in consideration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"We made this decision with great thought and heavy hearts, but we have a moral obligation for the safety of everyone involved to cancel this year's event due to the COVID-19 public health pandemic," Board President John Peavey said.  "But we will be back, better than ever, to celebrate our milestone 25th Anniversary, October 6-10, 2021." 

More information can be found on the event website.

Thursday, July 16

In case you missed it:

5:15 p.m. - Idaho sets another daily record for new coronavirus cases

For the second day in a row, Idaho has set a record for new COVID-19 cases. The state and local health districts are reporting 658 new confirmed cases, bringing the statewide total since the beginning of the pandemic to 12,418 confirmed cases. Another 30 probable cases were also reported on Thursday.

Three additional deaths were also confirmed - one in Ada County, one in Canyon County and one in Valley County (see update below). That brings the statewide death toll to 114.

Ada County is once again the top hot spot in the state with 262 new cases. Canyon County was second with 171 and Kootenai County in North Idaho was third with 92.

For a closer look at the coronavirus numbers statewide, including county-by-county breakdowns, check out our interactive map and timelines. 

Credit: KTVB
Credit: KTVB

4:53 p.m. - CDH reports first death in Valley County due to COVID-19

Central District Health confirmed Thursday afternoon the first death in Valley County due to coronavirus. According to the health department, the man who was in his 80s died from COVID-19-related illness. 

As of Thursday afternoon, 30 Valley County residents have tested positive for the virus.

Given a recent case of community transmission in neighboring Boise County, health officials are concerned about the number of people traveling from hard-hit areas in the Treasure Valley to the popular vacation spots in Boise and Valley counties.

"Many of us regularly enjoy the great amenities that our rural counties have to offer, especially this time of year, but we need to do all that we can to protect those counties where immediate access to healthcare is much more limited than it is in our larger counties," CDH Director Russ Duke said in a statement. "We urge anyone visiting neighboring counties for recreation or otherwise, to do the responsible thing and wear face coverings when they're in public places and keep physical distance to protect our fellow Idahoans."

10 a.m. - Southwest District Health meeting canceled 

The meeting was cancelled after a "large amount of protesters" entered the Caldwell Southwest District Health building. See our full story here.  

6:30 a.m. - Southwest District Health to hold special meeting to discuss more mask mandates

Southwest District Health will hold a special meeting Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. 

The board will hear from hospital presidents and experts about the current state of the COVID-10 epidemic in the district, which covers Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington counties. The board will also be discussing whether to put a mask mandate in place for the district.

KTVB will monitor the meeting and post significant updates. Download our app to get push alerts for breaking news.

6:19 a.m. - Festival of Trees going virtual in 2020

Saint Alphonsus' annual Festival of Trees fundraiser is going virtual this year.

There will be no in-person festival, gala or fashion show held at the event, now in its 38th year. Instead, the festival will be held virtually over a two-week period in November.

Attendees of the virtual event will still be able to bid on decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, and other holiday decor.

The Festival of Trees has raised more than $12 million for healthcare in the Treasure Valley.

Wednesday, July 15

8:54 p.m. - Caldwell to close city buildings to the public

The city of Caldwell announced on Wednesday that it will close city buildings to the public starting on Monday, July 20. The city said the closures are due to the recent increase in coronavirus numbers throughout the area. Canyon County had the highest number of new cases in the state on Wednesday.

The closures will last indefinitely but will be re-evaluated continually based on the public health situation and consultation from the local health district.

City service departments will remain fully staffed and operational. Department representatives will be available to the public via phone or email.

The city said in a news release that the move was necessary "to protect the health of our employees and the public, and particularly the most vulnerable members of society."

While a mask mandate is not being contemplated by city officials at this time, city leaders strongly encouraged everyone to wear a face-covering in all public areas where social distancing of at least six feet is difficult to maintain.

"The level of community spread in Caldwell is currently high, or Health Alert Level Red, as indicated by the number of new cases reported daily in addition to other factors such as healthcare capacity over the past two weeks," Southwest District Health Director Nikki Zogg said.

While most city buildings are closing to the public, the Library will maintain curbside pickup and remote services. The Caldwell Senior Center, Caldwell Veteran's Memorial Hall and the Caldwell Police Department will remain open with enhanced health precautions. Golf courses will also remain open, as well as the Caldwell Municipal Pool, parks and playgrounds.

7:57 p.m. - In case you missed it:

5:43 p.m.- Idaho breaks record for new daily cases, deaths

The state is currently reporting 11,760 confirmed cases, 111 deaths, and 3,513 recoveries.

Idaho added a record 609 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to 11,760 confirmed cases. An additional 36 probable cases were also announced.

The state and local health districts also reported eight new deaths, another daily record. Four of the deaths occurred in Ada County, three in Canyon County and one in Jerome County.

Canyon County has replaced Ada County as the daily hotspot, with 269 cases added on Wednesday. Ada County followed close behind adding 199 cases. Kootenai County added 34 new cases.

As of July 13, 153 people are hospitalized. Of those, 35 have been admitted to the ICU.

For a closer look at the coronavirus numbers statewide, including county-by-county breakdowns, check out our interactive map and timelines.

Credit: KTVB
Credit: KTVB

2:58 p.m. - College of Idaho announces re-opening plan for Fall 2020

The College of Idaho has released a detailed plan for the re-opening of the campus. You can read the full plan here.

Note: Southwest District Health (SWDH) is holding a meeting tomorrow. SWDH will be discussing and possibly voting on a mask mandate.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

In case you missed it:

Tuesday, July 14

6:55 p.m. - Central District Health mandates masks in Ada County

The Central District Board of Health on Tuesday approved a mandate requiring face masks to be worn in all public areas of Ada County when social distancing cannot be maintained.

The requirement, which goes into effect immediately, means everyone in the county, with few exceptions, must wear a mask in indoor and outdoor public places when social distancing of at least six feet cannot be maintained.

Ada County has been the top hot spot for new COVID-19 cases over the last several weeks. The city of Boise been under a mask mandate since Mayor Lauren McLean issued a public health order on June 2.

MORE: Central District Health approves mandate requiring face masks in Ada County

Tuesday's order by CDH expands the mask requirement to the rest of the county. Violators could face a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both.

Some people will be exempt from the mask requirement - specifically, children under age 2 and adults who have severe respiratory or cardiac disease.

6:20 p.m. - 414 new COVID-19 cases in Idaho on Tuesday

The state and local health districts reported 414 new confirmed and probable cases statewide on Tuesday. Ada County reported 175 new cases, its 12th-straight day of 100-plus cases. Meanwhile, Canyon County had 98 new cases and Kootenai County in North Idaho had 42. Statewide, there have now been 11,151 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Southwest District Health also reported one additional death in Canyon County, bringing the statewide total to 103.

Credit: KTVB
Credit: KTVB

For a closer look at the coronavirus numbers statewide, including county-by-county breakdowns, check out our interactive map and timelines.

1:02 p.m. -- Central District Health to begin reporting inmate COVID cases differently

Central District Health will begin reporting cases of coronavirus among inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Center separately, rather than lumping them in with Ada County's numbers, health officials said Tuesday.

"Though we've seen widespread community transmission in Ada and neighboring Canyon County for some time now, we want residents to have a clearer picture of the source of some of these recent cases. Positive cases in both incarcerated individuals and facility staff contribute to an increased risk of transmission in our community which could translate to increased demands on our healthcare system," said Russ Duke, District Director for Central District Health. 

RELATED: IDOC begins mass testing of inmates after 3 test positive for COVID-19 at prison south of Boise

Inmates are considered residents of the county in which they are incarcerated, meaning everyone who tests positive at ISCC in prison is counted as an Ada resident.

Since the first positive inmate case on June 24, the Idaho Department of Correction has reported 592 cases, 297 of which were received and logged by Central District Health. With increased testing of inmates and staff, those numbers are expected to rise, according to health officials.

7:24 a.m. - Treefort Music Festival pushed back to 2021

Treefort Music Festival has been pushed back to next year due to concerns about the growing number of coronavirus cases.

The music festival in downtown Boise was pushed back from March to September 2020 earlier this year. But organizers said Tuesday that holding the large event this fall was "no longer viable.

Treefort is now scheduled for Sept. 22 - 26, 2021. Information for current ticket holders will be released next week.

Monday, July 13

5:04 p.m. - Payette County requires face masks in county buildings after surge in COVID-19 cases

All employees and guests at Payette County buildings will now be required to wear face masks while inside the buildings, effective Tuesday, July 14.

The announcement came after a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, including 33 confirmed cases over this last weekend.

Officials said they were also concerned about inmates and employees at the county jail.

The new policy which requires everyone who enters a county-owned property to wear a face mask was passed by the Payette County Board of County Commissioners

4:57 p.m. - Nearly 2,000 Idaho businesses apply for over 10,000 back to work bonuses for their employees

Gov. Brad Little said in a statement that about 2,000 Idaho businesses applied for over 10,000 back to work bonuses on Monday, the opening day for the new program launched by Gov. Little.

"The incredibly strong response from employers in our Return to Work Bonuses indicates businesses absolutely need this incentive in order to get their employees back to work," Governor Little said in a statement. "There's a reason President Trump and Congressional Republicans are looking to Idaho – hard-hit businesses need all the help they can get now that our economy is open and jobs are coming back."  

The $100 million allotted for the $1,500 or $750 bonus for each employee that returns to work came from the over $2 billion in federal funding that was sent to states to help handle the coronavirus pandemic.

4:48 p.m. - St. Luke's nurse dies from complications from COVID-19

St. Luke's announced on Monday that a member of their children's team passed away after complications from COVID-19. A hospital spokesperson said the nurse had served the great Canyon County area for over 15 years.

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.

Facts not fear: More on coronavirus

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