Coronavirus: CDH limits gatherings in Ada County, Ada jail reports 130 cases

Coronavirus-confirmed healthcare workers can return to work without being testing negative
Posted at 12:20 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 14:20:41-04

This article was originally published by Jacob Scholl in the Idaho Statesman.

Social gatherings of more than 10 will not be allowed in Ada County, according to a new order approved by Central District Health on Tuesday.

The revised order, which took immediate effect, was approved by the Board of Health in a 5-1 vote, according to a CDH news release. The additional step was taken due to the continued growth of the coronavirus in Ada County, a place that regularly reports over 100 new cases per day.

CDH said that case investigations have revealed that gatherings like birthday parties, weddings and other types of social events “have been, and continue to be, a common source of transmission in Ada County,” according to the release.

The health district noted that the order does not extend into “theaters, restaurants, retail establishments, or similar private businesses where social distancing is practiced, or attending places of worship for the purpose of exercising religious activities.”

The order does not have a specified end date, and it will be in effect until a specified criteria is met, according to the CDH website.

The health district also approved a measure Tuesday that requires masks to be worn in Valley County.


Ada County Jail officials say they now have 130 positive coronavirus tests among the inmate population.

In an updated blog post on the Ada County Sheriff’s Office website, the jail reports that cases have grown in the past few days, as officials said the jail had 68 confirmed cases last week.

The first case of COVID-19 in the jail was found July 28, according to the post, leading officials to begin rounds of testing throughout the jail.

The jail conducted testing throughout different dorms within the building, with the latest round of tests recently coming back. On Saturday, the jail received word of 52 positive tests among its inmate population, with more positive tests coming back earlier this week.

As of Wednesday, the jail has 129 people in its custody who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Each jail inmate is now required to wear a mask or face covering, which the jail has supplied. People in jail will be required to wear masks at all times unless they are in their bunks.

Each jail deputy and employee undergoes a coronavirus screening before going into the jail, according to the sheriff’s office. All of those who work at the jail are also required to wear masks or a face covering.


The Middleton School District’s board voted Monday to start classes after Labor Day but did not vote on what schools will look like upon reopening.

Classes will start Sept. 8, according to a news release sent Wednesday by the school district. The school board tabled the discussion regarding whether classes will be held in person or online, and it will vote on the matter during its next meeting. Canyon County, where Middleton is located, is among the areas hardest-hit by the coronavirus.

During the meeting, the school board approved changes to the “Red Category” of its reopening plan to allow for one day of in-person classes a week, the release said. If a community is in the “Red Category,” it means the area has a risk of “substantial community transmission,” and state guidelines would call for the area to conduct K-12 schooling online.

School board trustees will take the next two weeks to “develop standards and metrics for Middleton School District to determine what is the best stage to reopen without being locked into a category determined by Southwest District Health Department,” the news release said.

Students and teachers will be highly encouraged to wear face coverings if classes are held in person on a limited basis in the “Red Category,” but masks will not be required, according to the district.

The board also approved a plan to allow school sports to begin later this month, as students will be allowed to start practice on Aug. 17 in anticipation of games in September.

School will start after Labor Day for several reasons, according to the district. One reason for the later start is to allow more time for computer devices to arrive, as well as give more time for webcams and audio devices to be installed in classrooms.

The later start also allows for more time for students to enroll in classes, as the district estimates there were “nearly 1,300 students who have not registered for school” as of Monday, according to the news release. The uncertain enrollment numbers also brings “last minute staffing changes” and other adjustments needed for online school.

The school board also swore in two new members during the meeting — Jake Dempsey in Zone 3 and Pamela Wagoner in Zone 4.


State health officials reported nine new coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday. Since the start of August, 55 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.

Of the nine deaths, one was reported in Benewah County — the county’s first. The Benewah resident who died was a man in his 60s who was hospitalized, according to the Panhandle Health District.

“(Benewah Community Hospital) is saddened to hear that one of our community members has passed away from COVID-19,” said Chuck Lloyd, CEO of Benewah Community Hospital, in a news release.

Three deaths were reported in Canyon County, which now has 51 deaths. Two deaths each were reported in Ada and Kootenai counties, bring the counties’ totals to 85 and 18, respectfully. One death was reported in Payette, the county’s third coronavirus-related fatality.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare updated its demographics for seven of the new deaths — four people were age 80 or older, one was in their 70s and another was in their 60s.

Idaho has been the site of 248 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began.

As of Tuesday, all Idaho counties but one have reported at least one case of the coronavirus. Butte County reported its first case on Tuesday, as a woman over the age of 50 tested positive for the virus. With the confirmed cases in Butte, now Lewis County is the only county in Idaho that has not reported a coronavirus case.

Idaho’s seven health districts reported 413 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the state’s total case count to 23,999. IDHW estimates that of those infected, 9,548 have recovered.

Ada County reported 157 new cases Tuesday, bringing its total to 8,757. Other counties with larger totals Tuesday included Canyon (52), Kootenai (47), Bonneville (30), Shoshone (25), Bannock (22) and Bingham (22), among other counties.

IDHW reported 70 new “probable cases” Tuesday, bringing that total to 1,645. The department also reports that 1,037 people have been hospitalized and 289 have been admitted to ICUs due to the coronavirus since the outbreak began. This is not a number on those currently admitted to hospitals.

As of Tuesday, around 11.4% of coronavirus tests in Idaho have been positive, and 210,599 tests have been conducted in the state, according to IDHW.

Coronavirus cases have been reported in nearly all of Idaho’s 44 counties: Ada 8,757, Adams 19, Bannock 424, Bear Lake 23, Benewah 63, Bingham 297, Blaine 563, Boise 40, Bonner 177, Bonneville 912, Boundary 37, Butte 1, Camas 1, Canyon 5,657, Caribou 31, Cassia 485, Clark 10, Clearwater 16, Custer 10, Elmore 206, Franklin 46, Fremont 74, Gem 162, Gooding 152, Idaho 31, Jefferson 177, Jerome 432, Kootenai 1,837, Latah 102, Lemhi 26, Lincoln 53, Madison 135, Minidoka 451, Nez Perce 144, Oneida 12, Owyhee 241, Payette 369, Power 64, Shoshone 121, Teton 75, Twin Falls 1,302, Valley 61 and Washington 203.

Community spread has been detected 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.