The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 1,543 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the state's total to 87,978. Of those, health officials continue to monitor an estimated 50,312 active cases.
The state reported an additional 23 coronavirus-related deaths, raising the Idaho death toll to 835.
Blaine County gained 22 confirmed and six probable cases of COVID-19 today, according to the state, raising totals to 1,089 confirmed and 77 probable. As of last night, the South Central Public Health District was monitoring 228 active cases in Blaine County. The district has not updated its data yet today.
Read on for updates on local and regional COVID-19 risk assessments, the official state canvass, expanded WiFi at the Hailey Public Library and more top news from Thursday, Nov. 19.
• Blaine County updated its COVID-19 transmission risk assessment today, once again identifying a “critical” local risk—the highest designation on the county’s four-tiered risk scale. Similarly, the South Central Public Health District updated its risk assessment, declaring all eight of its counties—Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls—at the “critical” level. Both models analyze several metrics, including positive coronavirus testing rates, new daily cases and hospital capacity.
• Idaho has completed an official canvass of votes for the 2020 general election, accounting for every legal vote cast in the state. The Idaho Secretary of State’s Office reported 81.2 percent voter turnout and record early voting and absentee ballots. Blaine County finished its local canvass last week, confirming 78.9 percent voter turnout.
• The Idaho Department of Commerce has granted the Hailey Public Library funds from the federal CARES Act to boost public WiFi services, installing new state-of-the-art network equipment to enhance existing broadband capabilities. The upgrade includes indoor and outdoor wireless access points.
• The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission approved a one-year, 610-square-foot expansion of the UPS Hailey distribution center to help it meet increased shipping demand due to a surge in online shopping. P&Z also voted to allow Albertsons to expand food storage, supporting the increased volume the store has seen as a result of the pandemic.
• Meanwhile, the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission got the ball rolling on consideration of the proposed Sunshine Townhomes project, a 51-unit residential development slated for the so-called “Sunshine Parcel” in Elkhorn.
• Galena Lodge is kicking off its winter season tomorrow, opening 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch will be served daily from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Galena got about two feet of snow this week, and its Nordic skiing and snowshoeing trails are ready to go.
For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.