Nearly 30% of Idahoans in Arizona prison positive for virus; Canyon to expand voting places

Posted at 3:42 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 17:42:39-04

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

All of the Idaho prison inmates transferred to a private prison in Arizona have been tested for the coronavirus, and nearly 30% of the men have tested positive.

In the latest update from Idaho Department of Correction administrators, Deputy Director Bree Derrick wrote that 438 men in IDOC custody are being housed at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona.

IDOC’s coronavirus testing numbers, however, show that 439 Idaho inmates had been tested at Saguaro as of Friday, with four testing positive and showing symptoms, and 124 testing positive while not showing symptoms. The remaining 311 people tested negative.

For the past several weeks IDOC has been moving men from a prison in Eagle Pass, Texas, to Saguaro or to prisons in Idaho. The department’s contract with the Eagle Pass prison ends Wednesday, Sept. 30. As of Friday, only one person from Idaho was still in Eagle Pass, because he was not medically cleared for travel, according to Derrick’s Friday update.

IDOC had moved roughly 170 men from Eagle Pass to Idaho prisons as of Friday. This group was moved to Idaho instead of Saguaro “primarily due to impending parole hearings or full term release dates,” Derrick wrote.

As of Friday, there were 42 people in Idaho prisons who tested positive while showing COVID-19 symptoms, and 306 who tested positive while not showing symptoms. IDOC also said 1,268 people in Idaho prisons who tested positive for the virus have been medically cleared. Over 9,150 tests have been administered for people in Idaho prisons.

Last week, IDOC tested everyone who lives and works in the North Idaho Correctional Institution and found 88 inmates and three staff members were positive.


Officials in Canyon County are working to finalize additional polling places for the November election.

Last week, county officials announced five polling locations that will be open for early voting and the Nov. 3 election, as the coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on resources for the elections office.

However, county officials said Monday in a news release that they are still working to open additional voting locations.

“On Friday, we announced our plans to open five in-person early voting locations in Canyon County, but we didn’t articulate well enough that our Election Day plans were still a work in progress,” said Canyon County Clerk Chris Yamamoto in a news release. “We are going to spend the bulk of this week working to identify additional polling locations that we will open for voters to cast their ballots on Election Day.”

A full list of polling locations will be released on Friday, Oct. 2, once the list is approved by the county’s board of commissioners, the release said.

As of Monday, in-person early voting and Election Day voting will take place at the following locations, though more may be added:

  • O’Connor Field House – S 22nd Ave, Caldwell
  • Celebration Church – 2121 Caldwell Blvd, Nampa
  • Oregon Trail Church of God – 23057 Old Hwy 30, Caldwell
  • Melba Valley Senior Center – 115 Base Line Rd, Melba
  • Notus High School (Old Gym) – 25260 Notus Rd.

Four of the locations will open for early voting on Oct. 19. The O’Connor Field House voting center will open a week earlier on Oct. 12, according to the county news release. The final day of early voting is Friday, Oct. 30.

Those who opt for early voting — which can be done Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. — can vote at any one of the five polling places. However, anyone who votes on Election Day will have to vote at a precinct-specific polling place. Once the list of polling places is finalized, information will be sent to registered voters telling them where to vote.

Idahoans are encouraged to register to vote online by going to, or Canyon County residents can register in person at the Canyon County Elections Office, located at 1102 E. Chicago St. in Caldwell.

You can also go to the Idaho Votes website to request an absentee ballot or check the status of their ballot request. Ballots must be turned in to the elections office by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, and any ballots returned after that deadline will not be counted.


Public health agencies around Idaho added 154 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus to the state’s totals on Sunday. No new deaths were reported.

Despite the lower case count Sunday — which is a typical occurrence, as some local health districts do not report cases on weekends — Idaho’s seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases is up. The average is now 432.6 per day, the highest it has been since Aug. 14.

Ada and Canyon counties added 33 and 24 new cases, respectively, bringing their totals to 11,741 and 7,666.

Among those reporting double-digit new COVID-19 cases Sunday was Madison County, which added 29. The county added 73 new cases on Friday and has reported 235 cases over the past week.

The only other county which reported new cases in the double digits on Sunday was Bonneville, which added 22.

As of Sunday, 37,052 Idahoans had tested positive for the coronavirus. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare estimates that 21,630 of those people have recovered.

The state’s coronavirus death total remains at 460.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 27 new “probable” cases to its total, which now stands at 3,602. As of Saturday, IDHW reports that 303,252 coronavirus tests have been taken statewide, with around 12.2% of those tests returning positive.

Coronavirus cases have been reported in all 44 counties: Ada 11,741, Adams 27, Bannock 981, Bear Lake 46, Benewah 142, Bingham 905, Blaine 634, Boise 55, Bonner 300, Bonneville 2,227, Boundary 47, Butte 31, Camas 27, Canyon 7,666, Caribou 98, Cassia 653, Clark 28, Clearwater 42, Custer 59, Elmore 263, Franklin 118, Fremont 182, Gem 292, Gooding 237, Idaho 187, Jefferson 479, Jerome 662, Kootenai 2,629, Latah 399, Lemhi 73, Lewis 15, Lincoln 72, Madison 620, Minidoka 621, Nez Perce 403, Oneida 24, Owyhee 300, Payette 764, Power 232, Shoshone 213, Teton 153, Twin Falls 1,984, Valley 86, Washington 335.

Community spread has been found in nearly all counties, with the exceptions of Adams, Butte and Franklin.