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Idaho Leads Way in Positivity, Boiseans Burn Masks
Sunday, July 5, 2020


The Gem State is leading the nation on this Fourth of July weekend. And not necessarily in a good way.

The percentage of positive tests for COVID-19 in Idaho is five times higher than it was two weeks ago, according to the Associated Press. Currently, 15 percent of all tests being administered are coming back positive.

Some days that percentage has exceeded 20 percent.

The previous high was 7.1 percent between March 29 and April 4. And it had been at 2.7 percent before the state reopened bars the second week of June.

The rate has risen dramatically since the state moved into Stage Four of the governor’s reopening plan. While there has been at least one new cluster at a Magic Valley food processing plant, health officials have attributed most of the surge to young people hitting the bars in Ada and Canyon counties.

Health officials consider anything above 10 percent as out of control.

The percentage of positive tests in Nevada has tripled, while the percentage of positive tests has doubled in Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina and Ohio. It’s nearly doubled in Texas and Arizona.

Only ten states, including Nebraska, South Dakota, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey, have a downward trend in cases.


Idaho recorded 376 more cases of coronavirus on July Fourth, taking the state to 7,370 cases. Blaine County remained at 539 total cases since mid-March.

The state is seeing a large increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations.


Rumors have been racing around the Wood River Valley about huge numbers of out-of-town visitors testing positive for COVID-19.

Blaine County Commissioner Jacob Greenberg says his sources tell him those numbers are not true.

Unfortunately, South Central Public Health District does not keep a record of the number of second homeowners and vacationers who seek and receive a positive confirmation while here. Positive confirmations are recorded at a person’s primary residence.


Boise Mayor Lauren McLean mandated that Boiseans wear face coverings in all indoor and outdoor public spaces beginning the Fourth of July. That includes while walking on public sidewalks. The City is giving away masks to those who do not have them.

The eastern Idaho city of Driggs has also joined Hailey, McCall and Moscow in mandating masks.

Blaine County and the cities of Sun Valley and Bellevue have passed resolutions encouraging the use of face masks.

The mask mandate in Boise was not welcomed by all. While City Hall staff handed out 6,000 free masks on Friday, some citizens gathered at City Hall burning masks and chanting “We won’t comply.”


Remember when Boise began testing the poop in its wastewater? The data has shown an increased presence of the coronavirus in Boiseans’ poop. And that information contributed to Mayor Lauren McLean imposing a mandatory face mask order this week.

Scientists say that sewers have emerged as treasure troves of information, containing COVID-19 material shed by even those who are asymptomatic. As a result, the data from wastewater can serve as an early warning system—a canary in the coal mine—for new outbreaks.

A low-cost method of detection, the study of wastewater could even halt a pandemic from spreading across the world for two months without anyone knowing it was happening, like the coronavirus did, a researcher for the U.K. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology told NBC News.


Aspen is not only mandating masks, but it’s passed a midnight curfew for retail and restaurant operations to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The exception: Late night room service and 24-hour gas pumps.


Chicago has joined the growing list of places that now require residents of 15 states, including Idaho, to quarantine upon arrival. Those who do not quarantine for two weeks could face a $500 fine per day up to $7,000.

Windy City authorities constructed their list based on the rate of new confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. The order also applies to Chicago residents returning from one of those states.

Other states on the list are Alabama, Arkansas Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.


A Boise company—The Campbell Company—has built touchless crosswalk buttons in response to the COVID pandemic. Infrared technology senses a hand wave in front of the button, according to KTVB.


The long-running theater company has cancelled the remainder of its season due to the spike of COVID cases in Boise, even though the productions are held outside.

While Ketchum’s Community Library reopened to in-person visits a month ago, Boise’s libraries will remain closed for the time being because of Ada County’s retreat to Stage Three of Idaho’s reopening plan.

Hailey’s Company of Fools announced it was canceling its 25th season on Thursday. The Sun Valley Museum of Art also canceled its annual Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Festival, which had been set for mid-August.


A film crew chronicling how the lives of Americans have been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic made a stop in Twin Falls this week. Project Tumbleweed began its trek across the country in Indiana and has been capturing the stories of health care professionals, business owners and everyday citizens ever since.

Filmmaker Scott Henderson interviewed Twin Falls’ Liyah Babyan and her son Dominic who have sewn more than 10,000 masks during the past 10 weeks, giving them out free of charge from Babyan’s store Ooh La La Boutique.

KMVT reports that Henderson heads next to Oregon before heading down the Mississippi River. He hopes to film people in 20 states. To learn more, visit


Walmart is transforming 160 of its parking lots into drive-in theaters, according to CNN.

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