For the third time this week, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has reported a new highest ever single-day increase in statewide COVID-19 cases. Today's 1,330 new confirmed and probable cases bring the total since March to 70,909. Almost 4 percent of Idahoans have tested positive for the virus: roughly one in every 25 residents. Of the grand total, health officials are currently monitoring an estimated 38,260 as active.
State health officials consider coronavirus a contributing factor in the deaths of 680 Idahoans, nine more than yesterday. Since last Friday, the state has reported 54 coronavirus-related deaths.
In Blaine County, the state reported 13 new confirmed and three probable cases, leaving local totals at 924 confirmed and 55 probable.
Keep reading for further assessment of area COVID-19 risks, local and regional election results, Sun Valley’s new Cold Springs expansion and more top news from Friday, Nov. 6.
• Blaine County’s COVID-19 transmission risk level was once again deemed “critical” last night as the county recorded its largest single-day rise in infections since April 3. Likewise, the South Central Public Health District declared Twin Falls, Minidoka, Lincoln, Jerome, Gooding and Cassia counties at the “critical” level. Only Camas County remained at the slightly lower “high” risk designation.
A representative from the Health District spoke to the Express about testing practices, positivity rates, contact tracing, infection trends and the effectiveness of mitigation measures.
• While the presidential race drags on, local elections were at least settled in a timely fashion. In case you missed it earlier in the week, we covered all Bellevue, Blaine County and District 26 elections as they happened. Democrats and incumbents swept local elections. Our reporters caught up with some of the victors.
• Blaine County also voted for Fifth District Magistrate Judge Jennifer Haemmerle to retain her position, which she says is “the best job I’ve ever had.” Haemmerle has served Blaine County as magistrate judge since 2015, and with a solid 10,583 votes in her favor Tuesday night, she’ll keep doing so for another four years. Earlier this week, Haemmerle spoke with the Express’ Alejandra Buitrago on why she loves the job and how she balances her head and her heart to help community members move past whatever brought them to court.
• Voters in Stanley showed strong support on Tuesday for keeping the city’s local option tax. Revenue from the 2.5 percent tax accounts for roughly 60 percent of the city’s annual operating budget, covering everything from law enforcement to snow plowing to Fourth of July fireworks. Custer County voters also re-elected their sheriff, prosecuting attorney and two county commissioners.
• The Ketchum City Council signed off on two major public service contracts this week, agreeing to terms with both the Blaine County Ambulance District and the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office. You can read more about that here. In the same meeting, the council granted unanimous approval to a plan to hold a scaled-back Festival of Trees this holiday season. Read more on that decision here.
• The Sun Valley Resort revealed a new trails map for Bald Mountain, including some of the names of new skiing and snowboarding terrain opening this winter as part of the highly anticipated Cold Springs expansion.
For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.