The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 677 new confirmed a probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, marking the largest single-day increase in about two months. Today's spike increased the state total to 43,238, of which an estimated 22,568 have recovered. Since yesterday, the state counted another two coronavirus-related deaths, raising the death toll to 474.
According to the state, Blaine County gained three confirmed and one probable case overnight, leaving those totals at 658 and 33, respectively. The South Central Public Health District counts two additional confirmed cases in the county, however. District officials are currently monitoring 52 active cases.
Keep reading for updates on local coronavirus response and risk, the governor’s new vaccine plan and how state representatives reacted to Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Here are the top news stories from Friday, Oct. 2.
• Blaine County moved from risk level orange to risk level red on the Harvard Global Health Institute's four-tiered scale today, having occupied risk level yellow just days ago. The county recently voted to adapt Harvard’s risk assessment system, but with a few modifications. Technically, by the county’s assessment, Blaine remains at risk level orange. At these increased risk levels, Harvard recommends lockdown orders coupled with rigorous testing and tracing. The county commissioners have made no such decision yet.
• The Ketchum City Council voted earlier this week to formally adopt the same criteria by which the county assesses COVID-19 transmission risk. At the same meeting, the council voted to pass a new emergency order, in effect for the next 182 days.
• Gov. Brad Little has ordered the formation of the Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee, which will advise the governor on how to prioritize the distribution of vaccines once they become available.
Meanwhile, the governor announced that Idaho will yet again remain in Stage 4 of his reopening scheme. The state entered the two-week phase on June 13 and has seen it extended in two-week increments ever since. Little also confirmed that Idaho will receive an addition 530,000 rapid antigen tests to boost testing capacity statewide.
• Idaho’s two U.S. senators—Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, the latter of whom is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee—met with and subsequently praised President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.