The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare declared 16 more cases of coronavirus in Blaine County on Saturday, bringing the local total to 114. Here’s a look at the top stories from Saturday, March 28.
• Blaine County, Ketchum and Bellevue joined Hailey on Friday voted to enact stricter isolation rules—and the county’s are already in effect.
Despite indications that the commissioners would delay enforcing the new rules until April 1, Commissioner Jacob Greenberg confirmed that the restrictions—which ban construction and limit non-essential out-of-county travel—kicked in upon signing the ordinance yesterday. After signing the ordinance, the commissioners received confirmation from their attorney that enacting the measures in March would not affect impacted workers under the new paid leave rules outlined by federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed this week, Greenberg said.
The other jurisdictions’ ordinances are scheduled to start on Monday, March 30.
• Blaine County Sheriff Steve Harkins instructed his deputies to take a “common-sense approach” to enforcing the new rules, he said in a Facebook post on Friday. That means emphasizing “lesser sanctions,” warnings, and education—not things like roadblocks, traffic stops or checkpoints to determine the reasons for travel. “We encourage you to read the order and interpret the language in the best interest of your family, friends, neighbors, our community and our country,” Harkins said.
Violations of the order can be charged as a misdemeanor, according to the state Department of Health and Welfare.
“Given the growing global crisis, it is likely we will all know someone who will be affected by the coronavirus at some point,” Harkins wrote. “We need every single person to be part of the solution. I have full confidence the residents of Blaine County will do everything they can to protect each other in these trying times. Thank you for your cooperation.”
• With new cases called daily, Blaine County has one of the country’s highest concentration of lab-confirmed coronavirus cases—on par with hotspots like New York City and Wuhan, China. Read the full story here.
• Looking for something lighter to do this weekend? Check out our adapted Weekender, with Wood River High School senior Zoe Simon’s monthly “Student Perspectives” on growing up in the age of coronavirus, and “The Melville Minute,” with recommendations for at-home entertainment during quarantine.
• As of 5 p.m. on Saturday, Idaho had 261 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 31 more than yesterday. Five people have died. For more COVID-19 information, check mtexpress.com throughout the weekend.