The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare counted another 414 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the total to 16,736. Of those, 5,008 people have recovered. Three more people died with virus since yesterday, leaving the statewide death toll at 138. Health officials are monitoring 11,590 active cases.
Blaine County apparently lost two cases of coronavirus today, as yesterday's total of 547 confirmed cases has now decreased to 545, according to both the Department of Health and Welfare and the South Central Public Health District. The count of probable cases remains at 15. The reason behind that decrease is unclear at this time.
Elsewhere in the health district, Twin Falls, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Cassia and Gooding counties saw increases today.
As infection rates rise, the governor announced his intentions for Idaho's immediate future, and the local school board continues to debate its options for the 2020-21 school year. Here are the top stories from Thursday, July 23.
• As mentioned in last night’s roundup, another Blaine County resident died with COVID-19 yesterday. We have since learned the patient was a woman who live in Bellevue and died at a hospital in Twin Falls. She became the sixth local to die with the virus and the first to do so in nearly three months.
Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns said he was heartbroken upon learning the news this morning.
• Gov. Brad Little announced today that Idaho would remain in Stage 4 of his economic rebound plan for at least another two weeks. This phase of reopening allows all businesses to operate and for large crowds to congregate.
Since progressing into Stage 4 on June 13, Idaho has experienced a statewide increase of more than 13,000 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus—a more than 400 percent rise.
• The Blaine County School District Board of Trustees is holding a special meeting tonight to consider its option for reopening schools this fall after Tuesday’s meeting proved inconclusive. The board will consider numerous possibilities for in-person and online learning, as well as the possibility of delaying the start of the academic year until after Labor Day.
• Thirty-seven inmates in the Twin Falls County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19, the Twin Falls Sheriff's Office announced today. The first inmate tested positive on July 16 and was placed in isolation. Since then, tests have been administered to all 301 inmates and jail staff. Forty-six test results have come back so far, meaning about 75.5 percent have yielded positive results.
For more top local and regional news, grab a copy of tomorrow’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.