Coronavirus: Ada County closes bars, bans gatherings

With coronavirus case numbers continuing to rise rapidly in Ada County, local health officials took action Monday.

Central District Health moved Ada County back to stage three of the state’s coronavirus reopening plans, effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. The impacts on education are limited — but the move will affect gatherings of 50 or more people and close bars across the county. Other businesses, including restaurants and movie theaters, will remain open.

The numbers aren’t in agreement, but they show a continued uptick.

On Monday, the state reported 1,307 coronavirus cases in Ada County; Central District Health had the number at 1,245. Either number is up significantly from the 1,100 cases reported Friday.

From June 12 through Friday, cases in Ada County increased by 25 percent. Much of the spread was traced to bars in Downtown Boise, but over the weekend, health officials determined that the outbreak was more widespread, forcing Monday’s announcement.

“This is more than just a bars and nightclubs issue,” said health district board member Ted Epperly, a Boise doctor.

Local officials acknowledged the new restrictions will create a hardship for businesses — and come as many Treasure Valley residents are facing what Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo called “coronavirus fatigue.”

”Unfortunately, the virus is not fatigued,” she said.

The restrictions do not affect the other counties under Central District Health’s jurisdiction: Boise, Elmore and Valley counties. Nor do they affect neighboring Canyon County, which has also reported a spike in cases.

Some key trends from Friday through Monday.

Statewide statistics June 19 June 22 Change
Cases, confirmed and probable 3,888 4,275 10 percent
Deaths 89 89 Unchanged
Hospitalizations 279 293 5 percent
ICU admissions 101 102 1 percent
Patients recovered 3,183 3,405 7 percent
Tests completed 70,791 75,730 7 percent
Positive test rate (approximate: some patients undergo multiple tests) 5.5 percent 5.6 percent +0.1 percentage point
Cases in select counties
Ada County 1,100 1,307* 19 percent
Blaine County 518 520 0.4 percent
Twin Falls County 507 518 2 percent
Canyon County 403 470 17 percent
Jerome County 216 225 4 percent
Cassia County 163 173 6 percent
Kootenai County 115 129 12 percent
Minidoka County 115 124 8 percent


* Source: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

More reading: More on the Ada County decision’s economic fallout from the Idaho Statesman, Idaho News 6 and Boise State Public Radio.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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