The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported another 528 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the total to 17,264. That's an increase of about 3,500 since last Friday.
Six more people have died with the virus, raising the death toll statewide to 144. Twenty-six Idahoans have died with the virus since last Friday, including one Bellevue resident. The state had not updated its demographic data by 6 p.m. Friday, so it is currently unclear where in the state those six new deaths occurred.
According to the South Central Public Health District, Twin Falls County saw a major spike in cases today, confirming another 39. Today's rise means Twin Falls' combined totals of confirmed and probable cases has now surpassed 1,000. Of those, health officials are monitoring 233 active cases. The district noted that Twin Falls' numbers include recent cases in the Twin Falls Jail.
The health district counted no new cases of coronavirus in Blaine County today.
Locally, coronavirus weighs heavily on the school board, businesses and city finances. Here are the top stories from Friday, July 24.
• Last night, the Blaine County School District Board of Trustees voted to delay the start of the school year three weeks until Sept. 8, giving officials and teachers more time to prepare for in-person or online learning.
The board also voted to allow athletic practices to resume on Aug. 10, as long as appropriate health and safety measures are observed.
• The battle against Ketchum’s Fourth Street closure is gaining momentum as more and more business owners file lawsuits against the city. Many allege the city failed to give any prior notification to businesses in the area and that the closure has dramatically decreased their revenue.
Those complaints suggest the City Council may have acted illegally in closing the street in the first place, failing to conduct a proper traffic study and not consulting with the fire department. Following advise of counsel, Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw did not comment on the pending suits.
• The Bellevue City Council has passed a tentative $3.5 million budget. The draft includes a total salary freeze for city employees and more than half a million dollars in cuts. City Council Chair Kathryn Goldman explained these reductions reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the city’s finances, candidly saying that “things don’t look bright.”
• According to a recent survey conducted by Sun Valley Economic Development, most businesses in the Wood River Valley are currently operating “normally,” but owners are concerned about reduced customer traffic as coronavirus cases mount across the state. The majority of business owners believe destination marketing could prove key to generating more visitors to the valley for the remainder of the summer.
For more top local and regional news, pick up a copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.