Boise State University placed three fraternities on interim suspension this week after campus officials found out about “large gatherings that violated university policies designed to protect our entire community from COVID,” according to a news release from the university.
The three fraternities — Pi Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Phi and Kappa Sigma — as well as 18 students both inside and outside of the organizations were notified of the suspensions Friday.
“Keeping campus open, safe and healthy has been our top concern, and we have educated our students about the risks associated with large gatherings. This included specific communication with students in our fraternities and sororities,” said Chris Wuthrich, BSU dean of students, in a news release. “Students who do not comply with university policies and orders will face sanctions, including removal from campus.”
The Dean of Students Office will investigate each case over the next several weeks, according to the university.
PARMA HARVESTING EVENT WON’T TAKE PLACE DUE TO COVID
A beloved event in Parma will not take place this year because of COVID-19.
The annual Pomology and Viticulture Program Fruit Field Day in Parma was canceled earlier this week, according to a news release from the University of Idaho, which hosts the event.
Though the event is not taking place this fall, research updates will be shared and fruit from last year’s harvest will be donated to food banks this year. The donation includes over two tons of apples. The field day was scheduled to take place in September at the Parma Research and Extension Center’s research orchards.
U of I professor Essie Fallahi said in a news release that the coronavirus pandemic made holding the long-standing event too risky.
“In his 31st year at the Parma center, Fallahi said he misses the opportunity to welcome back people who have enjoyed the annual event he’s held for at least the past 25 years,” the news release said.
Instead of focusing on the harvest event, the farm instead wants to spread the word about the research taking place at the orchards.
Researchers said that a new “pedestrian orchard” is in its second year of testing, feturing apples and cherries. The trees growing these fruits are pruned to be 6 feet tall, which eliminates the need for ladders while harvesting.
“We had to find a way to tell people about what we are doing through grower groups, schoolteachers and media,” Fallahi said in the news release. “We wish we could enjoy another field day this year, but we are trying to find the best way to educate people about our work.”
COVID OUTBREAK FOUND AT BINGHAM COUNTY JAIL
Bingham County is the latest place in Idaho where the coronavirus has spread to jails or prisons.
On Tuesday, the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office learned that four inmates in its jail had tested positive for COVID-19, according to a news release published by the Idaho Falls Post Register. The Sheriff’s Office soon tested all inmates and staff members, which revealed that 53 inmates tested positive. Five staff members tested positive as well.
Those who tested negative were transferred to other areas of the jail, away from those with the virus.
Earlier this month, the nearby Bonneville County Jail found that all but one person living in a pod had the coronavirus, according to the Post Register. The inmates were tested after several told the newspaper that they requested COVID-19 tests but were denied.
In the Treasure Valley, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office last reported on Aug. 20 that there were 165 positive coronavirus cases within the jail. Numerous Idaho prisons have also confirmed hundreds of coronavirus cases.
IDAHO’S POSITIVE TEST RATE DROPS AGAIN; 7 NEW DEATHS REPORTED
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Thursday that the state’s positivity rate was 8.3% for the week of Aug. 16-22, though that number could change as more test results will be added as they are made available. The number is made up of 18,231 tests that were taken during that week. State health officials noted that Idaho has again seen a drop in the coronavirus positivity testing rate, the second straight week of declines.
The week of Aug. 9-15 showed a positive testing percentage of 9.2% out of 21,709 tests taken.
On Thursday, health officials around Idaho reported 301 new, confirmed cases of the coronavirus and seven deaths. Idaho now has 28,957 confirmed cases of COVID-19, as well as 344 coronavirus-related deaths.
The deaths were reported in counties across the state, including one in Bonneville County (9 total). Eastern Idaho Public Health officials said the death announced Thursday — and another death reported in the county Tuesday — were both women in their 70s.
Two deaths were reported each in Ada (118 total) and Canyon (73) counties. One death was reported in Owyhee County, bringing its death total to five.
Another death was said to be in Bingham, the county’s sixth death. The deceased is said to be a man in his 80s, according to Southeastern Idaho Public Health.
As for cases, Ada County reported the most Thursday, with 52. The county now has 10,216 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Canyon County added 38 new cases to its total, which is now 6,606.
IDHW reported 57 new “probable cases” to its total, which is now 2,281. Of those who tested positive for the virus, state health officials report 13,928 people have recovered. Since the outbreak began, 246,906 tests have been conducted, and about 11.7% of all tests have returned positive.
Coronavirus cases have been reported in all of Idaho’s 44 counties: Ada 10,216, Adams 24, Bannock 608, Bear Lake 37, Benewah 101, Bingham 437, Blaine 582, Boise 48, Bonner 206, Bonneville 1,368, Boundary 43, Butte 17, Camas 3, Canyon 6,606, Caribou 38, Cassia 524, Clark 15, Clearwater 19, Custer 26, Elmore 226, Franklin 50, Fremont 95, Gem 185, Gooding 183, Idaho 39, Jefferson 282, Jerome 526, Kootenai 2,133, Latah 214, Lemhi 50, Lewis 8, Lincoln 57, Madison 187, Minidoka 512, Nez Perce 251, Oneida 18, Owyhee 268, Payette 544, Power 116, Shoshone 193, Teton 105, Twin Falls 1,475, Valley 77 and Washington 245.
Community spread has been found in the majority of Idaho counties: Ada, Bannock, Bear Lake, Benewah, Bingham, Blaine, Boise, Bonner, Bonneville, Boundary, Canyon, Caribou, Cassia, Clark, Clearwater, Custer, Elmore, Fremont, Gem, Gooding, Idaho, Jefferson, Jerome, Kootenai, Latah, Lemhi, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Minidoka, Nez Perce, Oneida, Owyhee, Payette, Power, Shoshone, Teton, Twin Falls, Valley and Washington.