Marriott Hotel Construction

Rules enhancing Blaine County's isolation order halted construction in the county and its cities, including the Marriott hotel build in downtown Hailey, will lapse on Monday.

Local jurisdictions will vote soon on jointly tightened terms of last week’s state-issued isolation order as the total of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Blaine County hit 63. Meanwhile, the whole of Idaho has been asked to do what the Wood River Valley has done since last Friday: “shelter in place.” Here are the top stories from Wednesday, March 25.

• Blaine County and the cities of Hailey, Sun Valley, Bellevue and Ketchum took serious steps to fortify the Department of Health and Welfare’s isolation order on Wednesday with a new suite of rules designed to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The new measures will go before each jurisdiction this week. Among them: a ban on residential and commercial construction and most associated work, and a prohibition on Blaine County residents travelling across county lines to buy locally-available items.

“Our jurisdictions are unified in this approach to maintain consistency and avoid confusion amongst the members of our communities,” Blaine County Commission Chairman Jacob Greenberg said in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents.”

• Gov. Brad Little announced a “shelter in place” order for the state on Wednesday following news community spread in Ada County Tuesday night. The official terms haven’t been released yet, but they’re expected to look a lot like those of the Blaine County order issued last week.

• Hailey passed an emergency-powers ordinance Tuesday night aimed at authorizing the city council to take more aggressive steps in enforcing the standing isolation order.

• With Blaine County at the center of Idaho’s COVID-19 outbreak, 5B plates have become an unwelcome site in neighboring counties worried about the spread. Travel volume over the weekend has Custer County Commission Chairman Steve Smith concerned that Blaine residents don’t “attempt to escape” the virus in more other areas.

“This practice only spreads the virus like a fox’s tail on fire,” Smith told the Idaho Mountain Express. “What they really are doing is endangering others.”

• A local ER doctor has a stern message on the pandemic for readers: “The COVID-19 pandemic is going to be with us for months to years, and therefore these changes are going to be necessary for longer than you realize,” Dr. Terry Ahern writes in an op-ed to the Mountain Express. “Lives will be lost, and businesses will suffer, but if we all do our part, we can prevent what is an inconvenience for some of you from becoming a disaster for everyone.”

But, he says, there are some critical steps everyone can take to fight the outbreak. To learn more, click here to read Ahern’s piece in full.

• As of 4:21 p.m. on Wednesday, there were 63 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Blaine County, according to the South Central Public Health District. For more, stay with mtexpress.com.

Email the writer: mdee@mtexpress.com

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