Idaho Coronavirus Cases
As of May 23, Idaho reported 2,626 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Of these, 79 have resulted in death and 1,735 have recovered. Ada County has the majority of cases with 796 reported.
Idaho Government Refuses to Borrow to Support Cash Flow Despite Uncertain Economic Conditions
The State of Idaho, for the current fiscal year, refuses to borrow money in the bond market to meet expected cash flow requirements.
For the first time in 38 years, the Idaho State Treasurer will not issue a State of Idaho Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) to meet the projected cash flow requirements for the time difference between state income flow and state expenditure.
“This move is about good government and prudent management of taxpayer dollars. Given the uncertain economic times, we must minimize state borrowing and limit the amount of General Fund that is committed to interest payments on loans,” Governor Little said. In a meeting on Thursday, the Treasurer’s Credit Rating Enhancement Committee reviewed the move.
State Treasurer Julie Ellsworth said the recent development is a prudent approach and a big win for Idaho taxpayers since it saves General Fund dollars with respect to cash flow management. More so, it leverages the CARES Act fund to generate more revenue for state residents while still providing funds to small Idaho businesses as the pandemic continues to ravage the country.
In previous fiscal years, the issuance of the state's TAN has incurred the payment of interest to external entities. Over the past half-decade, the interest has averaged an estimated $15 million to a national bank. Thankfully, those taxpayer dollars will be saved in the current fiscal year.
The State Governor approved a recommendation from the Coronavirus Advisory Committee to leverage the relief fund for cash management. To date, the state has only allocated $450 million out of the $1.25 million federal government relief fund.
"The food system is a critical infrastructure. We are committed ... to anything we can do to support anyone in the food system."
Chanel Tewalt, spokeswoman for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.
Idaho Receives More Funding from the Federal Government to Expand Testing Capacity
Idaho recently received $56 million from the United States Department of Health and Human Services in a bid to expand the state's COVID-19 testing capacity.
The fund, which was disbursed from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, will help to support a renewed testing capacity alongside contact tracing for identifying infected individuals on time. According to a press release from the Human and Health Services, the recently disbursed $56 million funds are part of a much larger $10.25 billion initiative kick-started by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help reopen states.
"Jurisdictions will use the funding they receive to meet the testing goals laid out in their COVID-19 testing plans, including purchasing supplies (such as test kits and other testing supplies, as necessary)," the release said.
Idaho is not the only beneficiary of this initiative as nearby states have also received funds to expand their testing capacity. Wyoming is in line to receive $50 million, while Montana will also receive $49 million. Currently, the state is working on a plan to expand its COVID-19 testing. To make this possible, Gov. Brad Little said he has created a public-private task force to centralize testing data collection and to set requirements on when and how often residents should be tested.
Research, laboratory, and clinical experts are part of those serving on the newly-created panel, which is co-chaired by Dr. Christopher Ball, director of the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories, and Dr. Jim Souza, the chief medical officer for St. Luke’s Health System.
Rate of coronavirus tests carried out per 1 million in Idaho: 24,662 per 1 million residents New claims for unemployment filed: 13,342+ Percentage increase of unemployment claims in one week: 1200%+ Confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Idaho/ number of deaths: 2,534+/70+
Statistics provided by Statista
Update: Latino Communities More Affected by the Coronavirus Outbreak, Preliminary Data Reveals
According to a preliminary data released by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Latino communities appear to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic - this is in accordance with a national trend that shows that people of color bear the brunt of the virus outbreak ravaging the country. An estimated 23 percent of the cases of COVID-19 infection of known ethnicity in the state are Hispanics or Latinos, according to the Department of Health and Welfare data dashboard in Idaho. However, health officials were only able to verify the ethnicities of 63.7 percent of the total 2,100 confirmed cases of the infection - approximately 1,375.
State officials were only able to release the racial breakdown of the cases on Wednesday. Of the confirmed cases with known ethnicities, 77 percent were white, 2.2 percent were Asian, 4.5 percent were multiracial, 1.5 percent were African-Americans, 1.4 percents were American Indians or Alaska natives, and about 13 percent were recorded as other races.
Although, a majority of the cases of COVID-19-related deaths were white Idahoans. According to the state department of health and welfare, only 4 of the reported 66 deaths were Hispanics. Not all Idaho districts were tracking the racial data of infected residents from the beginning, despite the fact that nearby states have recorded spikes in COVID-19 cases amidst Hispanics.
Hispanics and Latinos are Idaho's largest ethnic minority and are usually burdened with barriers such as languages, income, health and immigration status, and insurance disparities like their counterparts in other states in the country.