Culinary Institute

Cooking classes have been sold out at the Sun Valley Culinary Institute in Ketchum, with participants spacing out and wearing masks and instructor Chris Koetke wearing a face shield. Despite that, COVID-19 has delayed the launch of the Institute's professional culinary school until at least 2021. 

Today’s 567 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 brought the state’s total to 20,246, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 177. Health officials are monitoring 13,325 active cases.

By the state’s count, Blaine County gained no new cases today among residents. By 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, the South Central Public Health District, which includes Blaine County, had not updated its statistics.

Meanwhile, an outbreak within the penitentiary system has boosted Twin Falls’ COVID-19 numbers, the school district looks to provide some updates on the impending school year and southern Idaho braces for some near-record high temperatures this weekend. Here are those, and more top stories from Thursday, July 30.

• Twin Falls County’s case count includes a recent outbreak at the Twin Falls County Jail, where 132 inmates and staff members have tested positive for the virus. All inmates and staff received tests, meaning more than half came back positive. Of those, just 10 exhibited symptoms. One inmate has been hospitalized.

Blaine County is not currently accepting out-of-county inmates.

• The National Weather Service has placed Carey, Shoshone and Richfield under a weekend heat advisory. Forecasted temperatures of 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit could cause heatstroke or heat exhaustion if people do not take necessary precautions. The Weather Service makes several recommendations for how to stay safe and beat the heat.

• The Blaine County School District Board of Trustees is meeting tonight at 6 p.m. to provide updates on the back-to-school process for the 2020-21 academic year. Last week, the board voted to delay the start of school until after Labor Day and formed a committee to explore options for online learning. Tonight’s meeting should offer some insights into the progress the board has made.

• Blaine County’s census response has improved, with about 36 percent of households reporting, but it still lags considerably behind the 66 percent response rate statewide. Census takers are now going door-to-door again, so Idahoans who have not yet responded can expect to hear a knock soon.

• The Hailey City Council passed a resolution this week to eliminate the distribution of single-use plastics at city events or in city buildings. The new rules will go into effect on Sept. 1, but Hailey will make some allowances where necessary to follow coronavirus health and safety guidelines.

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

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