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Idaho coronavirus updates: May 19-22

See the Idaho coronavirus updates from May 19-22 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. 

Latest coronavirus updates:

Click here for previous daily updates. 

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. 

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.

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.

Credit: KTVB

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.

Thursday, May 21

9:50 p.m. -- In case you missed it:

7:54 p.m. - Idaho's confirmed cases increase by 23 on Thursday

Idaho health districts are reporting 23 new confirmed COVID-19 case on Thursday. That brings the statewide total to 2,301. The state is also reporting an additional 233 "probable" cases. The state's death toll held steady at 77, with no new deaths reported since Tuesday. So far, 1,720 people have recovered from the virus, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

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

Credit: KTVB

Watch Idaho Gov. Brad Little's press conference Friday at noon

We'll live stream Idaho Gov. Brad Little's May 22 coronavirus press conference at noon mountain time KTVB.COM, our YouTube channel and on KTVB Channel 7. Gov. Little is expected to speak about a new strategy regarding COVID-19 testing. 

The live stream will appear here at noon on Friday:

For the latest Idaho coronavirus updates, click here.

Wednesday, May 20

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

5:34 p.m. - Idaho reports 12 new confirmed cases, no new deaths

For the first time this week, no new deaths attributed to COVID-19 were reported in Idaho. The statewide death toll currently stands at 77. Health districts are reporting 12 new confirmed cases. The state is also reporting an additional 18 new "probable" cases. There have now been 2,278 confirmed cases in Idaho and 1,688 have recovered. 

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

Credit: KTVB

12:45 p.m. - Memorial Day service at Idaho Veterans Cemetery canceled 

Idaho Division of Veterans Services encourages Idaho's citizens to safely honor and remember all those that died while serving in defense to our nation.

To reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and comply with federal, state, and local rules and guidance of limited gathering sizes and large venues the difficult decision was made to cancel this year's ceremony at the Idaho Veterans Cemetery in Boise.

"Even during this difficult and challenging time, we must never forget that as a nation we have a solemn responsibility to recognize and honor those that have served and died in defense of our freedom and the freedom of those oppressed throughout the world," Veterans Cemetery Bureau Chief James Earp.

12 p.m. -- St. Luke's to close down COVID-19 screening tents Friday

St. Luke's will close down its drive-up coronavirus screening and specimen collection tents on Friday afternoon.

The services will instead take place at select clinics beginning Saturday, the hospital says. The tents will close at 4 p.m. Friday, with clinic services beginning to be offered the next day. 

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms will be directed to the following clinics:

•    Boise: St. Luke’s Clinic – Family Medicine at 701 E. Parkcenter Blvd. 

•    Jerome: St. Luke’s Clinic – Jerome Family Medicine at 132 5th Ave. W.

•    Magic Valley: St. Luke’s Quick Care at 775 Pole Line Rd. W.

•    Meridian: St. Luke’s Clinic – Ada Medical Associates at Portico East, 3399 E. Louise Dr.

•    Wood River: St. Luke’s Clinic – Family Medicine in Hailey at 1450 Aviation Dr.

When arriving for an appointment, the patient should remain in their car and call in to the clinic. Medical staff will then come outside to conduct the screening and specimen collection to avoid exposing other patients at the clinic. 

10:00 a.m. - McCall Golf Club to open Friday, May 22

The City of McCall announced it will be opening its public golf course this Friday.

They want people to have a safe golf experience that is in line with COVID-19 guidelines. There will be limited pro shop access, 10-minute tee time intervals, all golfers must have a tee time to play, social distancing is observed – those violating will be asked to leave the course, flags not touched for any reason, no bunker rakes or ball washers. Get a tee time online or call 208-634-7200.

9:25 a.m. - Total number of coronavirus cases in the state reaches 2,266

The South Central Health District added more numbers on Wednesday morning. See a comprehensive breakdown of case numbers by county and timelines tracking Idaho's coronavirus case trends in our interactive map and timeline.

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

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.

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.

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.

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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