Corey Allen Snow Maker

Dollar Mountain Manager Corey Allen checks the brand new snow maker ahead of the coming start of the 2020-21 ski season. Baldy is slated to open on Thanksgiving Day, followed by Dollar on Dec. 12.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare registered a new highest ever single-day increase in statewide COVID-19 cases today, 1,786, surpassing the previous high, which was set on Tuesday.

Today's rise brings the total to 89,764, of which health officials continue to monitor 51,687.

About 5 percent of all Idahoans have tested positive for the virus—one in every 20 state residents.

The state reported an additional 10 coronavirus-related deaths, raising the Idaho death toll to 845.

Meanwhile, Blaine County gained 14 confirmed and one probable case of the virus today, according to the state, raising local totals to 1,103 confirmed and 78 probable. The South Central Public Health District is monitoring 234 active cases in Blaine County. The Health District has counted seven more confirmed cases in the county than state Department of Health and Welfare.

Keep reading for doctors’ assessment of Idaho’s COVID-19 situation, a civil suit against ICE, the CDC’s tips for a safe Thanksgiving and more top news from Friday, Nov. 20.

• A panel of Idaho health experts met this week to discuss what one of them called a “humanitarian crisis”: The recent surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths statewide and across the country. Medical staff are being stretched thin, and as hospitalizations rise, diversions are becoming more and more common throughout the state.

“Never in my career did I think that we would even contemplate the rationing of care in the United States of America,” said Dr. James Souza, vice president and chief medical officer for the St. Luke’s Health System.

Dr. Steven Nemerson, chief clinical officer for St. Alphonsus Health System, said it’s a “tragedy” that science-based responses to the coronavirus pandemic have become “a political and emotional issue.”

Greg Foley reports.

• The University of Idaho’s Immigration Law Clinic, in association with other organizations, has filed a civil suit against ICE and other federal agencies for what they’ve called the unconstitutional detainment of Weiser man Luis Juarez. A lawful permanent resident of the United States who has lived in Weiser since childhood, Juarez has spent the past nine months in ICE custody with no opportunity to seek bond—and no court hearing in sight.

Gretel Kauffman has that story here.

• Mountain Rides Transportation Authority will start a pilot program next spring opening a new route between the Wood River Valley and Twin Falls. The service will be geared toward older adults and people with disabilities in the Wood River Valley and surrounding areas, many of whom rely on regular rehabilitation, dialysis and cancer treatments in Twin Falls.

Emily Jones has more on that here.

• With Thanksgiving on the horizon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered several guidelines for safely celebrating the holiday. Whether hosting, visiting, traveling out of town or staying at home, the CDC has recommendations for making the most of an unusual Thanksgiving.

Click here to learn more.

• The Sun Valley Music Festival has announced a new virtual series for the winter and spring, taking cues from its own highly successful virtual summer season. From December 2020 to June 2021, the festival will stream free concerts and talks by its world-class musicians, carefully curated by Music Director Alasdair Neale.

Read more here.

For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit at any time.

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