BOISE, Idaho — For the latest Idaho coronavirus updates, click here.
Idaho's number of deaths and cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continue to climb amid a worldwide pandemic.
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Tuesday, April 28
5:28 p.m. - One more death in Ada County, over 1,000 people are presumed to have recovered
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare updated Idaho's statewide data on the coronavirus on Tuesday evening. In Ada County, one person died, bringing the state's death toll to 60 and the county's to 16.
Statewide, there are now 1,813 confirmed cases and 1,087 people are presumed to have recovered from COVID-19.
4:45 p.m. -- Saint Alphonsus doctors administers new plasma therapy to COVID-19 patient
Doctors at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise became the first in Idaho to attempt Convalescent Plasma Therapy for the treatment of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Saint Alphonsus Hematologist and Oncology Hospitalist Dr. Richard Miranda supervised the transfusion of plasma donated by a person who recovered from the virus into a critically-ill patient. The donated plasma contains neutralizing antibodies to fight the virus and transfusing it into a COVID-19 infected patient has the potential of increasing the chance for recovery and survival.
"This type of therapy is available now, instead of waiting months for a vaccine," Dr. Miranda said. "Our hope is to be able to administer this plasma to a patient who is in our COVID unit, before the disease progresses to respiratory failure and the patient needs to be on a ventilator in Intensive Care."
The plasma therapy is coordinated with the American Red Cross of Idaho, which acquires, screens and types the plasma from appropriate donors. Saint Alphonsus and other healthcare providers in the region are actively reaching out to recovered COVID-19 patients, encouraging them to contact the Red Cross and donate plasma for this potentially life-saving treatment.
4:11 p.m. - New coronavirus death in Nez Perce County
Another death reported in Nez Perce County brings the total coronavirus deaths in that county to 16. The state now has 59 coronavirus deaths.
2:18 p.m. -- Lucky Peak Lake adding new restrictions
New restrictions have been put in place at Lucky Peak Dam and Lake. Starting immediately, overnight camping and campfires are prohibited, and boating is limited to daylight hours only.
All watercraft must be removed from the lake or stored at a designated marina by sundown.
"These restrictions have been made in response to public safety and resource protection concerns and will remain in effect until further notice," the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wrote in a release.
12:04 p.m. -- Idaho Gov. Brad Little to make announcement Thursday about Stage One of the state's reopening plan
That stage is set to begin Friday, May 1, after the current statewide stay-at-home order expires. In a weekly AARP telephonic town hall meeting, the governor said "we felt it was very important that we give some certainty to those businesses about when they can open, and some certainty to consumers about when they can expect to have those services ... available in the future."
The governor's press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. MDT on Thursday, April 30. You can watch it live on KTVB.COM or our YouTube channel.
11:00 a.m. -- Gov. Brad Little: Important to open up places of worship "as early as responsibly possible."
Places of worship, such as churches, can reopen as early as May 1 under the governor's four-stage plan, if they adhere to strict physical distancing, sanitation protocol, and any CDC guidance.
Most other social gatherings will continue to be limited during the two-week stage that begins on May 1, with restrictions on larger public gatherings continuing into June. However, in a statement from his office, the governor says he has heard from "many, many Idahoans concerned about the limitations on their right to practice their faith."
9:10 a.m. -- Dog off-leash program extended in Boise
Boise Parks and Recreation is extending its seasonal dog off-leash program at Ann Morrison Park and the Optimist Youth Sports Complex through the end of May. The extension comes after spring leagues were canceled due to the coronavirus.
Off-leash use is allowed from sunrise to sunset everywhere in the parks except for the Greenbelt pathways, parking lots, roads, and playgrounds. Owners are reminded to pick up after their dogs and continue to follow social distancing rules.
Monday, April 27
12:25 p.m. -- Idaho to receive $23.9 million in funding for rural schools
Idaho counties will get more than $23.9 million in federal payments this year under the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program.
The move was heralded by Idaho's congressional delegation and the Idaho State Treasurer, who say the payments are a critical financial lifeline for rural residents.
In addition to schools, the money can also be put toward law enforcement and infrastructure. A two-year extension of SRS funding was part of an end-of-year funding package passed by Congress and signed by the president.
A county-by-county breakdown of payments is available here.
10:25 -- Salvation Army in Boise expands free emergency childcare to all frontline workers
The Salvation Army in Boise is expanding childcare services to any frontline workers. There are currently 16 kids enrolled in the program and they have room to serve additional families in need.
To register for Child Care services please visit salarmy.us/boisechildcare. For questions please call 208-433-4427.
9:30 a.m. -- West Valley Medical Center joins plasma study for COVID-19 patients
West Valley Medical Center is participating in a national study to determine if plasma from convalescent, or recovered, COVID-19 patients may benefit individuals currently hospitalized with severe or life-threatening cases of the virus. As part of the effort, West Valley is encouraging eligible volunteers from Idaho to donate plasma to help current patients in need.
"I am very excited that through HCA Healthcare our hospital is now participating in a COVID-19 treatment trial. We are asking for the help of our community to spread awareness about plasma donation for patients facing COVID-19 not only here in Idaho, but across the country," says Betsy Hunsicker, West Valley Medical Center Chief Executive Officer.
To date, there is no proven therapy for individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19, but there is a long history of successful viral infection treatment using convalescent plasma.
8:25 a.m. -- Boise State to require cloth masks in public spaces on campus
Boise State official say there may be unanticipated moments where proper social distancing is difficult to maintain. For this reason, the university is asking anyone who comes to campus to wear a cloth face mask in public hallways and entryways.
The use of simple cloth face coverings is intended to reduce possibility of a person who may be infected but does not know it from transmitting the virus to others. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.
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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