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Coronavirus in Idaho: Updates from March 13-22

Facts not fear: Find our previous updates on COVID-19 in Idaho.

BOISE, Idaho — Editor's note: The above video takes a look at how social distancing and some business closures can flatten the curve of infections.

Click here for current real-time Idaho coronavirus updates. 

We are continuing to track Idaho news and updates regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and what officials are doing to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Facts: 

Idaho coronavirus latest: Real-time COVID-19 updates | Map of confirmed Idaho cases | COVID-19 resources | Testing sites | School closings | Building, venue and event closings | Full COVID-19 coverage  

Previous updates:

Click here for current updates.

Sunday, March 22

5:03 p.m. - More cases confirmed in Ada and Canyon Counties

Official statewide totals increased to 47 but does not include three presumptive cases in Kootenai County and one in Bingham County. Our counts show there is 52 cases in Idaho. Canyon County now has three confirmed cases and Ada County now has 13 cases.

1:52 p.m. - Ada County case likely connected to Blaine County

Health officials said a recently confirmed case in Ada County indicates likely connection to Blaine County. A Valley County resident tested positive is connected to traveling to Blaine County.

Center District Health is asking those who have traveled to Blaine County in the last two weeks to shelter in place for 14 days.

11:50 a.m.- Kootenai County confirms three additional cases of COVID-19

The Panhandle Health District confirmed three additional cases of coronavirus in Kootenai County, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county to six. Two of the new cases were found in females, one in her thirties and one under the age of 18. The other is a male in his thirties. 

All individuals are self-isolating in their homes.

Saturday, March 21

5:58 p.m. - Bingham County now has 2 confirmed cases. Statewide total increases to 42.

5:51 p.m. - St. Luke's will now partner with a Caldwell distillery to make thousands of gallons of alcohol hand sanitizer.

5:10 p.m. - Person with confirmed case visited Middleton Middle School, may have been contagious

Officials with Southwest District Health and Central District Health announced that someone who is confirmed to have the coronavirus visited Middleton Middle School on March 11 and 12. They said the person may have been contagious at the time. The health departments are working to contact anyone that may have been exposed or in close contact with the person.

4:44 p.m. - Statewide confirmed cases increases to 42

There are now 11 cases in Ada County, up from four on Friday. Blaine County's confirmed cases increased to 21. Teton County now has two cases.

11:46 a.m.- Treasure Valley Family YMCA extends closure to March 29

David Duro, president and CEO of the Treasure Valley Family YMCA, announced that YMCA facilities will now be closed through March 29, and possibly beyond.

11:02 a.m.- City of Boise closes all public playgrounds

Boise Mayor Lauren McClean advised Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway to close all local playgrounds to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Idaho. 

Parks and Recreation maintenance workers will be closing off all of Boise's 50 public playgrounds over the weekend and will be posting signage alerting visitors of the closure.

10:13 a.m.- Fred Meyer reserves shopping time for seniors, high-risk customers.

Starting March 23, stores will be open Monday through Thursday from 7 to 8 a.m. for seniors and other high-risk individuals. See what other stores are offering in our coronavirus resources list.

9 a.m. - West Ada School District extends closure timeline

West Ada School District officials announced all district schools will remain closed through April 3. The district is offering free breakfast and lunch combo meals for kids ages 1 through 18 at certain schools. The meals should be picked up in designated areas and must be taken and not consumed on site. See more details in our coronavirus resources list. 

8 a.m. - Costco reserves shopping time for older customers

Costco will be open exclusively for people over the age of 60 and those who have physical disabilities on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 9 a.m. See what other stores are offering in our coronavirus resources list.

Friday, March 20 

7:44 p.m. - Blaine County issues order to self isolate

Blaine County Commissioners announced on Friday night that the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is issuing an order to self-isolate, which goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday. 

The order requires people to self-isolate at home unless they need to travel to work for certain businesses or government services or essential activities. 

All non-essential travel is ordered to cease. 

It also directs all businesses and government agencies to end operations at physical locations in Blaine County.

It does exclude people experiencing homelessness.

5:02 p.m. - Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Idaho increase to 31, according to state health officials. There are now 19 cases in Blaine County and four in Ada County.

5 p.m. - The Southwest District Health will hold a press conference about the first case in Canyon County. Officials said the case is not from community spread.

4:52 p.m. - Correction: We misstated that Gov. Little will have a press conference at 5 p.m. It is actually the Southwest District Health's press conference on the first case in Canyon County.

4:41 p.m. - First case in Bingham County

Southeastern Idaho Public Health announces the first confirmed case in Bingham County. They will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. with more details.

4:16 p.m. - St. Luke's elective surgeries and visitation changes

St. Luke's Health System is suspending all non-urgent/non-emergent operative and invasive procedures effective Monday, March 23. Non-essential clinic visits will also be suspended on March 23. Some visits may be converted to non-traditional visits, like telephone or video visits where available and appropriate.

3:10 p.m. - First confirmed case in Canyon County

Southwest District Health will announce the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Canyon County during a press conference at 5 p.m. Officials have not released any further information about the case.

2:42 p.m. -- Two more cases confirmed in North Idaho

Two more people in Kootenai County have tested positive for coronavirus. The first case is a man in his 60's who is self-isolating out of state. The second case is a man under 30, who has been self-isolating after returning from travel. Both have mild symptoms, according to the Panhandle Health District.

1:37 p.m. -- Meridian enacts "social distancing order"

Meridian Mayor Robert Simison announced social distancing orders for indoor and outdoor venues in Meridian for 15 days, asking for no more than 10 individuals gathering and for everyone to maintain at least 6 feet in distance.
This includes bars, restaurants, gyms, movie restaurants, but does not include venues that provide critical services such as grocery stories and food banks. 

1:33 p.m. - VA employees infected with coronavirus

Two staffers at the Idaho Veterans Administration in Boise have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the VA. One staffer is one of the original three confirmed cases in Ada County. The other was confirmed positive Friday.

1:14 p.m. -- Ada County Courthouse evacuated

The Ada County Courthouse has been evacuated after the spouse of an employee tested positive for the coronavirus. Only about 30 people were in the courthouse at the time, and courthouse functions had already been reduced. 

The evacuation was ordered out of "an abundance of caution," according to a county spokeswoman.

12:47 p.m. -- Staff member at Boise State tests positive for coronavirus

A staff member at Boise State has tested positive for COVID-19, the university announced. 

Everyone who is not already working from home on the Boise State campus is asked to start mapping out a plan to do so "immediately." 

"We will support one another and get through this together," BSU President Marlene Tromp said.

Anyone who visited the Administration Building or the Rec Center on Friday, March 13, 2020, may have come into contact with the person who tested positive, Boise State said. Anyone who experiences symptoms of coronavirus should let their doctor know they may have come into contact with an infected person.

12:38 p.m. -- Micron employee tests positive for coronavirus

Micron has confirmed that an employee at one of the Boise site has tested positive for coronavirus. The patient had not been at a Micron facility in Boise for more than 20 days before being diagnosed, and is currently self-quarantining, according to the company. 

"We continue to act out of an abundance of caution while maintaining continuity of our operations at our Boise sites," Micron said in a statement. "Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, contractors and visitors."

10:45 a.m. The City of Meridian announces a press conference Friday afternoon.

The City of Meridian will hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall "to discuss adjustments to business operations in Meridian city limits"  related to the spread of COVID-19. The announcement comes the day after Boise's mayor ordered the shutdown of all bars and dine-in restaurants in city limits. The conference will be streamed live here.

10 a.m. - Wahooz Family Fun Zone offering free sack lunches

Wahooz Family Fun Zone is currently closed but announced they will be offering free sack lunches for families during spring break.

The lunches will be available for pickup in the Wahooz parking lot from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27.

Sign up for free lunches is required by 10 a.m. the day prior at www.wahoozfunzone.com.  Limit of up to six lunches per family, per day, while supplies last.  

Wahooz employees will practice safe handling practices to bring sack lunches to people's vehicles. 

Thursday, March 19 

6:30 p.m. - Boise State asks students to vacate dorms by March 26

RELATED: Boise State University asking students to move out of dorms

6:15 p.m. - 613 people total have been tested statewide

Number of people tested at the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories - 445

Number of people tested through commercial laboratories - 168

5:42 p.m. - More details released on the 12 new cases in Blaine County

South Central Public Health District has confirmed twelve new cases of novel coronavirus in Blaine County, Idaho.

 Six individuals are male: one in his 30's, four in their 40's, and one in his 50's.

Six individuals are female: one under 20 years old, two in their 30's, two in their 50's, and one in her 70's.

Blaine County currently has a total of 17 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

One individual's home state is not Idaho. That person relocated to their home state and the numbers on our website show 16 cases in Blaine County because that individual's home state is taking over the investigation.

RELATED: Shelter-in-place order issued for Blaine County residents

5 p.m. - 12 new cases confirmed in Blaine County, statewide total now 23

3:25 p.m. - University of Idaho cancels spring 2020 commencement

University of Idaho President Scott Green announced that all university classes will be delivered online for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester, as well as the cancellation of the spring 2020 commencement ceremony. See more on the University of Idaho website. 

3:13 p.m. - Idaho Gov. Brad Little to host press conference at 5 p.m. 

Gov. Little will provide an update on the spread of COVID-19 in Idaho. We'll have the press conference live in this article and on our YouTube Channel.

3:03 p.m. -- Kootenai County confirms first coronavirus case

Kootenai County officials confirmed the county's first COVID-19 case on Thursday afternoon, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Idaho to 12. The patient is a man in his 60's. He did not need hospitalization and is self-isolating. 

2:53 p.m.: Mayor Lauren McLean on Thursday called for shutdown of indoor dining in all bars and restaurants in Boise city limits, beginning Friday, as part of an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus.

2:30 p.m. - Boise Mayor Lauren McLean to hold a press conference to announce additional closures and measures in response to COVID-19

You can watch the press conference live on KTVB.COM (bookmark this page) KTVB Channel 7 and our YouTube channel (video will be embedded below). The city is hosting a virual press conference on YouTube as part of social distancing efforts. The city Boise Mayor Lauren McLean closed most city-run buildings and announced a state of emergency Monday.

2:20 p.m. First community spread case of COVID-19 in Idaho

A confirmed coronavirus case in Blaine County that was announced Wednesday is the first person in Idaho confirmed to have caught the virus through community spread and not through travel to a hot spot. See more details on all 11 Idaho coronavirus cases here, along with our interactive map of cases.

1:33 p.m. - Warm Springs Golf Course reopens, Quail Hollow still closed

Boise Parks and Recreation announced that it is reopening Warm Springs Golf Course to the public at noon on Friday, March 20.  Tee times must be booked in advance and are only available over the phone. Call 208-343-5661.

No tee times can be made in person at this time. The clubhouse and driving range will remain closed to the public until further notice. Golfers should be prepared to walk. Carts are not available for rent.

The city says Quail Hollow will remain closed at this time.

11:14 a.m. - Blaine County launches hotline

Blaine County has established a COVID-19 Information Hotline for the public. The number is 208-788-5504. It is open to the public seeking information related to local COVID-19 response, current guidance from Blaine County or other agencies and available community resources. The line will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. MDT seven days a week. Messages can be left at any time and calls will be returned as soon as possible.

9:30 a.m. - More screening and testing sites open

You must meet certain criteria to get tested.

There are currently these drive-thru COVID-19 testing stations in the Treasure Valley:  

  • Saint Alphonsus in Meridian 

  • St. Luke’s Meridian and Boise campuses  

  • Two Saltzer Health facilities in Nampa

Wednesday, March 18

We are continuing to update our comprehensive lists of school closuresevent postponements, building closures and more.

7:21 p.m. - City of Meridian closes administrative offices

Beginning Thursday, March 19, Meridian administrative offices will close at noon to the general public in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. While the buildings will be closed until further notice, city staff will work to continue city business and operations to the best of their ability while working remotely. 

7:06 p.m. - Idaho Department of Labor to close its office until April 3

The department is closing its offices to public access for a minimum of 15 days. The closure starts on Thursday, March 19.

Idaho residents can access the agency’s services online and over the phone using the following methods:

6:16 p.m. - Two new cases of novel coronavirus in south central Idaho

South Central Public Health District and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare have confirmed two additional cases of novel coronavirus in South-Central Idaho. These are the fourth and fifth cases for that district, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Idaho to 11.

One is a man in his 80s from Twin Falls County. He was briefly hospitalized, but is now recovering well at home.

The second is a man in his 40s from Blaine County. He has very mild symptoms and is also recovering well at home.

Investigations into both new cases began Wednesday afternoon and are in their primary stages.

See details of all Idaho confirmed coronavirus cases with our interactive map.

3:45 p.m. Boys & Girls Clubs of Ada County to remain open

All locations are staying open. Parents should only drop off their kids if they have to go to work.  The club is also launching a new “Grab and Go” meal service at three locations. Read our full story about the Boys & Girls Clubs here.

12:51 p.m. St Luke's says Meridian screening site "experiencing high volume"

St. Luke's drive-up tent facilities for COVID-19 are experiencing such a high volume that traffic control is now in place. The hospital says those that don't meet the criteria for testing will be sent home. Residents are asked to go get screened only if they have reason to believe they have been exposed or are at high risk.

11:30 a.m. -- City of Emmett issues disaster declaration

The City of Emmett on Wednesday joined other Treasure Valley cities in issuing a disaster declaration related to the spread of coronavirus. The declaration gives the city more flexibility regarding funding and emergency preparedness. The declaration will remain in place for one week, unless the city council votes to extend it. 

11:20 - City of Eagle has coronavirus hotline

The City of Eagle set up a hotline for at-risk groups looking for resources amid coronavirus precautions. The hotline is 208-489-8763 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hotline is to help those who need help with shopping for groceries and other resources. 

11 a.m. -- One person at the River of Life men's shelter showing coronavirus symptoms.

Rev. Bill Roscoe at the Boise Rescue Mission says a man at the River of Life homeless shelter in Boise began displaying symptoms of coronavirus. He was taken to the hospital for evaluation, then brought back to the shelter, where he was placed in isolation. 

Roscoe says the Boise Rescue Mission already practices sanitation and hand-washing procedures, but are ramping those up. He asked the community for their support and donations to ensure the shelters can continue operating. 

10:26 a.m. --City council president says she was exposed to COVID-19.

Boise City Council President Elaine Clegg announced Wednesday morning that she has been exposed to coronavirus, and is self-quarantining. Clegg attended the National League of Cities annual Congressional Cities Conference from March 8-10. Two people at that conference have since tested positive for coronavirus, including one person who attended the same committee meeting as Clegg. 

She says she has no symptoms, but is self-quarantining for 14 days and is working virtually for now. 

10:13 a.m. - No evidence yet of community coronavirus spread in Idaho 

 Idaho State Epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn said there currently isn’t any evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in Idaho, but they are getting new cases every day and “we know that’s going to change at some point.“

10:04 a.m. - Little announces new Idaho COVID-19 guidelines

Idaho Gov. Brad Little said Idaho will adopt the CDC’s latest guidelines involving a 15 day timeline to slow the spread of COVID-19. Through the end of the month he encourages Idahoans to: 

  • Not visit nursing homes, retirement homes or long-term care facilities unless it’s to provide critical assistance

  • Avoid discretionary travel

  • Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people

  • Work from home whenever possible

  • Practice good hygiene

  • Take advantage of many delivery or pick-up options for food 

Little is not mandating categorical closures of schools or other establishments at this time, he said, and is leaving it up to local leaders and operators of facilities.

“It is critical for Idahoans to stay home” if they feel sick, Little said. 

Little also said they were looking at childcare options and considered it a critical issue. He said they were looking at needs and options, including licensing flexibility. 

Little: Don't hoard groceries, stores will remain open and be restocked

He also reminded Idahoans to not hoard groceries and household products. "America’s supply chain is the strongest in the world. Grocery stores will stay open and will be continually restocked," Little said. "Shop for your needs and no more. You are potentially harming your neighbor when you take more than you need." 

10 a.m. -- Gov. Brad Little started a press conference on the latest coronavirus updates.

FULL VIDEO: Watch Idaho Gov. Little's full press conference Wednesday morning on coronavirus precautions in Idaho 

8:30 a.m. - The State of Idaho says 468 people have been tested in Idaho either through the state lab or through a commercial lab. 35 people are being monitored by the state.

Tuesday, March 17

6:31 p.m. - South Central Public Health District announces a fourth confirmed case of the coronavirus in Blaine County. The patient is over the age of 80 and is isolated at a hospital. How she got it is unknown.

6:05 p.m. - Eastern Idaho Public Health announced that the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Madison County is a BYU-Idaho student. The man, who is in his 20s, started feeling ill before traveling back to Idaho.

5:14 p.m. - St. Luke's announces that drive-up testing in Boise will start Thursday, not Wednesday.

3:25 p.m. -  Caldwell School District will offer free meals for children Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 20. Children, age 18 or younger, will receive breakfast and lunch at designated distribution sites throughout Caldwell.

Meals will be distributed from 10 to 11 a.m. from school buses manned by Caldwell School District teachers, staff, and parent volunteers. 

3:07 p.m. - Eastern Idaho Public Health announces the first confirmed case in Madison County. Officials will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. at the Madison County Courthouse in Rexburg with more information.

10:50 a.m. - St. Luke's announced they will begin conducting drive-up coronavirus testing and putting up tents to hold supplies. Patients will stay in their cars during the screenings to help avoid spreading COVID-19 to others in the hospital.

The first two drive-up tents will be put up Tuesday at St. Luke's Wood River and St. Luke's Meridian hospitals, which St. Luke's calls "the sites with the greatest need." They will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and patients can be tested from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 days a week. 

Additional testing sites will come to Boise on Wednesday, and St. Luke's is evaluating additional sites in Elmore County, Fruitland and the Magic Valley.

Patients in Nampa can be screened and tested at Saltzer's parking lot located on our St. Luke's campus in Nampa. 

Anyone who shows up for screening but does not meet the criteria for testing will be sent home in order to conserve supplies.

10:17 a.m.- The city of Star, Idaho declares a state of emergency. Mayor Trevor A. Chadwick said in a press release that the city is doing all it can to protect the citizens of Star and announced the "activation of all local disaster emergency plans and state emergency assistance".

10 a.m. -- Ada County officials will hold a press conference on how the county is planning to respond to the COVID-19 strain. Officials from Central District Health will be in attendance, along with the Ada County Sheriff, the coroner, the prosecutor's office and officials from the county elections office and assessor's office.

9:46 a.m.- Central District Health confirms 7 total cases of COVID-19 in Idaho

Central District Health received confirmation on Tuesday that the third case of COVID-19 has been found in Ada County. According to documents, the patient is a female under the age of 50. Officials from CHD said the patient displayed mild symptoms and did not require hospitalization.

According to CHD, the patient has not been associated with any confirmed cases in Idaho and may have been in contact through travel-related interaction.

The third confirmed case in Blaine County is a female over the age of 50. Officials from the South Central Public Health District said the woman self-isolated once she began showing symptoms, did not require hospitalization and is in her home recovering well.

Monday, March 16

5:50 p.m. - Canyon County, Nampa, and McCall all declare states of emergency.

3:24 p.m. - The City of Nampa announces a state of emergency. City Council will vote to ratify it during a meeting on Monday evening. More information will be released sometime Monday night.

2:57 p.m. - The confirmed case of coronavirus in a 70-year-old woman was confirmed to be in Blaine County, according to officials at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Previously, officials did not release where the woman was from.

2:30 p.m. - Boise Mayor McLean announced that all City of Boise facilities, excluding the Boise Airport and city parks, will now close down for an unknown length of time due to concerns of the spread of coronavirus.

12:30 p.m. - Ada and Canyon counties, along with the cities of  Boise, Caldwell, Eagle, Garden City, Greenleaf, Kuna, Melba, Meridian, Middleton, Nampa, Notus, Star, and Wilder are making emergency announcements. The declarations, which follow Gov. Brad Little's emergency declaration for the state of Idaho, grants those jurisdictions emergency powers and will help them coordinate efforts with each other.

RELATED: We asked people in downtown Boise how they are greeting people without shaking hands

RELATED: Coronavirus has people in Idaho hoarding toilet paper, even though the CDC says there's no reason to

RELATED: Coronavirus outbreak and other uncertainties: Why we're prone to panic

11:15 a.m. - Interim guidance for mass gatherings and public events in Idaho has been updated to reflect new guidance.

Idaho public health experts recommend that organizers postpone or cancel mass gatherings and public events in the following situation:

  • The event will consist of 50 people or more people. This is recommended for the next eight weeks.

Please visit www.cdc.gov for additional information on mass gatherings.

8:30 a.m. - Still 5 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Idaho, more tested

The latest confirmed Idaho coronavirus case numbers remain at 5. As of Monday morning, 31 are being monitored and 270 people have been tested in Idaho at state and private labs.

7:50 a.m. - Ada County Courthouse announces restrictions.

Sunday, March 15

6:45 p.m. - Elementary students at Richard McKenna Charter School in Mountain Home exposed to coronavirus

According to the Richard McKenna Charter Schools' Facebook page, one or more elementary school students were exposed to COVID-19 by a family member that tested positive for the virus. The students are now under quarantine and are being monitored. The charter schools are now closed until the end of Spring Break on March 29. Parents are urged to contact the school by email if their children begin experiencing symptoms.

5:10 p.m. - The Boise School District March 16-27 closure

All Boise School District schools will be closed starting on Monday, March 16 until Friday, March 27. Staff will be at the schools on Monday so parents can pick up students' medications and personal belongings. All sports and activities are suspended until further notice. Just for Kids, the district's childcare provider, will also be closed. The district's administrative staff will meet this week and make a plan for if schools will be closed beyond March 27. 

4:18 p.m. - Twin Falls School District closure

Schools will be closed this week until the end of Spring Break on March 30.

3:55 p.m. - Windell School District closure

The district announced all schools will be closed starting Monday, March 16.

3:40 p.m. - Cassia School District and the College of Western Idaho announce early Spring Breaks

The Cassia School District will start their Spring Break on Tuesday, March 17. Schools will return from Spring Break on March 29. CWI will start their Spring break on Monday, March 16 through April 4.

2:31 p.m. - West Ada School District announces the school will be open Monday, March 16

West Ada School District Superintendent Mary Ann Ranells sent a message to parents stating that schools in the district will be open on Monday. In the announcement, Ranells said "The following are the guidelines for tomorrow, Monday, March 16th.  Events are changing rapidly, and we will be meeting again tomorrow to review what steps we will need to take next." All absences will be excused from March 16 through March 20.

2:18 p.m. – Gov. Little leaves decision to close schools to individual districts

Individual school districts will decide whether or not schools should be closed due to coronavirus concerns. The decision was made during a conference call with Gov. Brad Little. The announcement was made on Sunday after four cases of coronavirus were confirmed on Saturday. Local districts can refer to their local health district for guidance if needed. Parents will be notified by their district regarding closures.

Should Idaho schools close, the list can be found here.

12:54 p.m. - Gov. Brad Little urges the public to remain calm and avoid hoarding household necessities, like toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

10:06 a.m. - Idaho Education Association calls on state to close schools for three weeks

The Idaho Education Association (IEA), an advocacy group for educators in Idaho, called on the Idaho Department of Education to close all schools in Idaho to address the novel coronavirus situation. IEA President Layne McInelly said in a press release, "Recognizing that school buildings often hold more than 250 people, five days a week, we must close our schools immediately for the health of our communities, students and staff.”

Saturday, March 14

9:11 p.m. - No decision on Treasure Valley school closures until Sunday

Treasure Valley school officials and the Idaho Governor's Office announced plans for a conference call on Sunday to address the COVID-19 situation in Idaho. Officials said there won't be any school closure decisions made until after the call. The call will involve leaders in with West Ada, Nampa, Caldwell, Kuna, and other Treasure Valley schools, according to a memo on the Boise School District website from district superintendent Coby Dennis. 

8:20 p.m. - Second confirmed case in the South Central Public Health district

South Central Public Health (based out of Twin Falls) confirmed that a woman over the age of 70 has COVID-19. She is now hospitalized and recovering. Officials did not state where in Idaho she is. Officials do not know how she caught COVID-19.

7:30 p.m. - Confirmed case in Teton County

Eastern Idaho Public Health held a Facebook live stream at 7:30 p.m. Saturday to discuss the first presumptive case of coronavirus in eastern Idaho, in Teton County. Officials said the patient is a woman under the age of 60 who had close contact with someone that had the coronavirus in a neighboring state. They emphasized that there does not appear to be any community spread. The woman is now at home and recovering with mild symptoms. Labs in Idaho tested the woman and the results were positive but now the samples will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to verify the positive test results.

6:20 p.m. - Second case in Ada County confirmed 

The Central Health Department announced a second confirmed case of COVID-19 in Ada County. The patient is a man in his 50's and is now under self-isolation and recovering at home. He was not hospitalized, according to officials. Brandon Atkins with CDH said, "The patient indicated travel related acquisition and is presumed to have had the same shared risk exposure to the first case identified in Ada County."

2:30 p.m. - Idaho State University Meridian student was confirmed case

Idaho State University officials confirm the first case of COVID-19 in Idaho was a student who attended ISU's Meridian campus. On Friday, the university closed down the campus for cleaning. The student last attended classes at the campus on Tuesday, March 10, according to Idaho State University President Kevin Satterlee. 

Central District Health and the university are contacting those who came in close proximity to the person that tested positive for COVID-19.

"If you are not contacted by CDH or our University Health Center, then there is no reason for you to have elevated concern," Satterlee said in a statement. "I do not share this information to cause alarm, but instead, to show that our University is proactively working with state and local public health officials to protect our University community."

1 p.m.  - Hailey woman announced as Idaho's second coronavirus case

The South Central Public Health District announced that a Hailey woman in her 50s was infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus. More details to come. 

Earlier Saturday

The City of Boise announced that the Dick Eardley Senior Center will be closed to the public until further notice. Meals on Wheels meal prep will continue in the kitchen, and lunches will be available through curbside pickup.

The City of Meridian is canceling or postponing a number of upcoming city-sponsored events.

Downtown YMCA potential exposure

The Treasure Valley YMCA disclosed a potential COVID-19 exposure at the Downtown Boise Y. In a letter to members, the Y says a comprehensive disinfecting protocol of the entire Downtown Boise Y was conducted out of an abundance of caution. 

Staff learned Friday night that a member suspected, but not confirmed, of having COVID-19, visited the Y one time on Tuesday, March 10, at around 5 p.m.

At the time, the member believed they were in good health, and reported good equipment cleaning practice by wiping down an exercise machine before and after using it.

That person has since gone into a self-imposed quarantine.

In a letter to members, the Y says "based on the timing of the visit and when the member presented the symptoms, we believe the likelihood they were contagious while at the Y is extremely low.

"We recommend that anyone who has visited the Downtown Boise YMCA on March 10 at 5 p.m. or after consult their health care provider if symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath occur. Symptoms typically occur two to 14 days after exposure."

Regular operating hours at the Downtown Boise Y resumed Saturday, March 14.

The Treasure Valley YMCA is posting updates on the Y's COVID-19 response online.

Friday, March 13, 2020

First confirmed case is Ada County woman

The first case of COVID-19 coronavirus in Idaho has been confirmed, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced on Friday afternoon.

The announcement about Idaho's first case comes as the novel virus has already spread in neighboring Washington and Oregon and hours after Gov. Brad Little declared a state of emergency.

Brandon Atkins with Central District Health said the patient is from Ada County, is a woman in her 50s. He said she had recently returned home from a conference in New York City and is currently recovering from the illness at home.

The woman did not need to be hospitalized for treatment.

Officials at the press conference revealed that the woman was at the conference at the end of February/start of March. Atkins said there was a small window that the woman was able to spread the illness and they are working to find people that could have been exposed to the coronavirus. He emphasized that this is not a case of community spread.

"This woman, like I said, had very mild, moderate symptoms," Atkins said, "and self-isolation, staying at home, and preventing any risk to any ongoing community spread is what her foremost thought was, which is really, really something we could applaud in this particular individual."

Health and Welfare officials said the patient's doctor acted appropriately and ruled out the flu and determined that her symptoms, travel history and exposure risk aligned with COVID-19.

Officials said the woman was alerted that she was exposed to coronavirus by conference organizers when three people from the conference tested positive for COVID-19.

Atkins added that the woman contacted the CDHD within 15 minutes from learning that she tested positive for the coronavirus.

"We have epidemiologists who work in hand with the contact, for this particular illness," Atkins said. "They will be doing a very thorough investigation in dealing with those closest in contact with this individual initially. We will be working with facilities that may have potentially been within this individual's purview once they returned to the state of Idaho and we will go out from there. That's how any contact investigation works in an epidemiological response."

Atkins also reminded Idahoans that just because there's now a case in the Gem State, does not mean every person needs to start getting tested.

“This is not a test that everyone needs just to get peace of mind," he said. "We have resources we want to make sure we’re allocating appropriately for those at highest risk.”

During the press conference, Little was asked whether a confirmed case would change the earlier decision not to close schools. Little said no, mainly because the case did not originate in Idaho. 

"Had this been a case we didn’t know where it came from, it would be a different criteria,” he said. 

As of Thursday evening, there were 30 confirmed cases in Oregon and no deaths reported. In Washington, there have been 31 deaths among the 456 people who tested positive for the virus.

According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, over 100 people in Idaho have been tested for the virus, including three Oregon residents tested in Idaho.

"If we don't all do our part to control the spread of coronavirus, then our health system will be overrun in a short period of time," Gov. Little said during Friday morning's press conference. "If too many people get sick too soon, our health care facilities will not have the capacity to deal with it."

Health officials are urging calm and say parents of healthy children should not be concerned about the coronavirus. The greatest risk is for the older population and those with respiratory issues.

"This is not something that is a widespread risk to everyone that's in our population," Atkins said, "We knew at some point that this would happen and the preventative messages and measures that are in place are very sound and solid."

Idahoans are urged to practice good hygiene, avoid high-risk behaviors, and avoid panicking.

"Our goal is to preserve hospital capacity and keep our healthcare workers safe and healthy by slowing down the influx of patients into our healthcare facilities," Little said on Friday morning.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little joined with top health officials last week to outline what's being done to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the state.

"While the risk remains low, actually for any individual, what each of us should be doing is washing our hands regularly," said Dr. Dave Jeppsen, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. "If you're sick, please stay home. Avoid those that are sick, and cover your coughs and sneezes because the best thing that we can do is make sure all of us be as healthy as possible."

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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