Idaho gained 475 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 today, according to the state Department of Health and Welfare. That raises the total to 20,721, of which health officials are monitoring 13,534 active cases. The health department counted another 12 deaths overnight, raising the statewide death toll to 189.
Blaine County's count continues to hold relatively steady for now, with the total increasing by one to 553 confirmed cases. As reported earlier this week, however, a spokesperson for St. Luke's Wood River told the Express that delays in test result turnaround time may skew numbers.
In Blaine County, COVID-19 weighs heavily on budget and marketing discussions. Here's more on that, plus other top headlines from Friday, July 31.
• Fairfield man Matthew Richard Park, 47, was sentenced to a minimum of 17.5 years in prison on Wednesday. He pleaded guilty to four felony offenses: three counts of vehicular manslaughter and one count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol. He is convicted of causing a collision on Aug. 10, 2019, which killed three sisters between the ages of 3 and 6.
• Visit Sun Valley and the Fly Sun Valley Alliance are turning their attention toward winter marketing, trying to plan for whatever ski season is possible amid likely ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
Visit Sun Valley Executive Director Scott Fortner says his agency may be able to play on Sun Valley’s reputation as a less-crowded resort to attract skiers who want to vacation while maintaining social distancing.
• Speaking of tourism, the Sun Valley Air Service Board adopted a budget of about $2.1 million for fiscal year 2021. That indicates a major rollback in funding for both Visit Sun Valley and the Fly Sun Valley Alliance.
• Though primarily held to discuss the FY 2021 budget, a Wednesday Ketchum City Council meeting was sidetracked by ongoing tensions over between councilmembers and Mayor Neil Bradshaw. In particular, councilmembers Amanda Breen and Courtney Hamilton are at odds with Bradshaw and City Administrator Suzanne Frick, who continue not to wear masks while socially distanced in council chambers, citing a relevant passage in the city’s recent health order.
Discussion of masks is an official item on the agenda for this coming Monday’s city council meeting.
• Also: a reminder that, as reported yesterday, much of Blaine and Lincoln County will be experiencing dangerously high temperatures this weekend. The National Weather Service issued a warning reminding people to keep hydrated and watch out for signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion.
For more top local and regional news, pick up a copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.