As Idaho prepares to move into phase three of reopening tomorrow, the South Central Public Health District urges continued caution, predicting a second, potentially worse wave of the outbreak—more on that over the weekend. For now, though, the infection rate continues to hold comparatively steady here in Blaine County, though neighboring counties have seen steady increases in recent weeks.
As of 5:28 p.m. today, Blaine County's cases remained at 501 confirmed and 11 probable, of which a total of just six are being monitored by the district. Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Minidoka, and Twin Falls counties all saw their numbers rise overnight.
Here are the top headlines from Friday, May 29.
• Memorial Day weekend saw the first real spike in tourist traffic since lockdown began, though it did not come close to traditional year-over-year numbers. Most visitors favored outdoor recreation sites, with campsites in the Sawtooth National Forest fully booked. While this didn’t lend much of a helping hand to many local businesses, some outfitters reported record numbers.
• Starting this weekend, the Sun Valley Resort will welcome guests back for summer. Protective measures the resort is taking include requiring employees to wear masks in guest-facing roles, adding sanitization stations and enhancing cleaning regiments and rearranging public spaces and restaurant furniture to enable social distancing.
The reopening is in line with the governor’s incremental plan and comes as more and more recreationalists—mostly in-state—seek time in the great outdoors.
• Times have been unusually tough for many these past few months. For those experiencing grief and loss, Sun Valley-based nonprofit Loving Spirit has partnered with The Community Library to launch a free online webinar series to help people pull through. The series will be available starting Monday.
• The Bellevue City Council discussed plans with city staff Monday to open City Hall to the public, while protecting personnel from COVID-19 transmission. The council presently seems split on the pros and cons of reopening Bellevue City Hall, with opponents citing both health and economic concerns, of which there are many.
“Opening the door is unsafe and unfair and puts us at the most risk,” said City Clerk and Treasurer Marian Edwards, who works in the building.
A date has not yet been set to reopen the facility. Click here to read more on that from our Tony Evans.
• COVID-19 may be dominating headlines and occupying a fair amount of mental space for many citizens, but the Idaho Transportation Department warns of another serious threat. Last Friday marked what is known as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when more drivers, especially teens, are killed in car accidents.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare recorded 2,803 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state as of 5 p.m. today, and increase of 34 from yesterday. Statewide, a total of 82 people have died with the virus. For more information on how coronavirus has impacted Blaine County—and for plenty of other news—pick up a copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express or visit mtexpress.com at any time.