Mountain Peaks from Broadway

The new Broadway chairlift on Bald Mountain offers spectacular views. Sun Valley will open the lift to the public on Saturday.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 1,825 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total since March to 118,028. Of those, health officials continue to monitor an estimated 71,589 active cases.

The state confirmed another 33 coronavirus-related deaths in Idaho today, raising the death toll to 1,136. The largest ever single-day increase to the COVID-19 death toll in the state is 35.

Blaine County gained seven confirmed cases today, according to the state, raising local totals to 1,338 confirmed and 108 probable cases. According to the most recent available data, the Southern Central Public Health District is monitoring 258 active cases in Blaine County.

The county updated its COVID-19 transmission risk assessment today, once again indicating a “critical” risk—the most severe on the four-tiered scale.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in Idaho, the school district discusses eventually returning students to in-person learning, and Hanukkah celebrations begin. Keep reading for those and more top news stories from Thursday, Dec. 10.

• COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in Idaho in November, the state Department of Health and Welfare reported today. For the entire year to date, COVID-19 is the third leading cause of death in Idaho, behind heart disease and cancerous tumors. The state’s announcement came as the South Central Public Health District confirmed that coronavirus-related deaths in its eight counties more than double in November compared to October, which had in turn more than doubled September’s total.

Meanwhile, Gov. Brad Little held a press conference this morning to announce the possibility of the shifting the state into Crisis Standards of Care as hospitalizations surge. Under Crisis Standards—which are normally reserved for natural disasters like earthquakes, fires or floods—health officials would have to ration care, even in emergency situations. The governor also confirmed Idaho would remain in Stage 2 of reopening.

• The Blaine County School District Board of Trustees will consider shifting to in-person learning after the holidays, but that decision would hinge on a number of factors and no change could take place before February. In the meantime, the school district will remain in its current hybrid learning model, wherein students split their time between the classroom and home.

• The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission signed off on a preliminary plat application for a new five-lot subdivision off River Street on Monday evening, forwarding the application to the City Council for approval. The proposed subdivision would go between Draper Preserve and Main Street in Hailey, pending the City Council’s verdict.

• The Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission is meeting tonight to discuss adopting a new ordinance regarding land use and zoning around Friedman Memorial Airport.

• Hanukkah began tonight at sundown. The Wood River Jewish Community is marking the tradition with virtual celebrations, music and food.

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

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