The South Central Public Health District declared 17 more lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Blaine County on Friday, bringing the local total to 98. That number is sure to rise into the weekend as test results—including some taken a week or more ago—come back from the labs. Meanwhile, locals prepare for new measures designed to slow the spread. Here are your top stories from Friday, March 27.
• As the valley mourns its first two deaths due to the novel coronavirus, Blaine County and local cities convened special meetings Thursday and Friday to pass a stern addendum to the state-issued isolation order handed down last week. By Friday afternoon, Blaine County, Ketchum, Hailey, and Bellevue had all passed corresponding ordinances ratcheting up the lockdown, with Sun Valley expected to follow suit next week. You can read more about the measures—which includes a ban on construction and tighter travel restrictions—here. In the wake of the announcement, work crews—like the employees of Merrick Construction pictured above in downtown Hailey—packed up their tools Friday afternoon with no plans to return on Monday.
• On Thursday, Idaho announced 13,341 new unemployment claims this week—a 1,200 percent increase from the one prior. Gov. Brad Little followed the announcement today with a proclamation of his own to expedite the process for the newly out of work. Retroactive to March 8, Little’s changes relax the normally rigid process for both employees and employers. Click here for the full details.
• Demand for food at The Hunger Coalition’s pantry was twice normal this week. Calls to the Crisis Hotline doubled, too. Click the links above to read how you can get help from the non-profits, or help them meet the need.
• Looking for more ways to help? Our Chris Melville highlights a couple of charities dedicated to helping locals weather the outbreak: The Spur Foundation’s Community Relief Fund, and the newly-launched Blaine County Charitable Fund. Click the links above to learn more.
• As of 5 p.m. on Friday, Idaho had 230 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. The virus has officially killed four people in Idaho, one more than yesterday. For more news throughout the weekend, stick with mtexpress.com.