The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 1,265 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today. Today's increase is second only to yesterday's. Tuesday's was the highest single-day rise at that time, but has now been exceeded twice in two days. With today's new cases, Idaho's total has now risen to 69,579. Of those, health officials are still monitoring an estimated 37,334.
According to state health officials, coronavirus has contributed to the deaths of 671 Idahoans, seven more than yesterday.
The state reported 24 new confirmed and one probable case for Blaine County today, marking the highest single-day increase in the county since April 3. In total, Blaine County has recorded 911 confirmed and 52 probable local cases since March. The South Central Public Health District was monitoring 138 cases in Blaine County as of last night, but has not yet updated that data to reflect today's rise.
Read on for local and regional COVID-19 risk assessments, a proposed mask mandate in Twin Falls, the illegal shooting of elk near Carey and more top news from Thursday, Nov. 5.
• Both Blaine County and the South Central Public Health District updated their respective COVID-19 transmission risk assessments today. With a 13.58 percent positive test rate and an average of 33.5 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, Blaine County remained at the “critical” level, the highest on its four-point scale. Click here to view the county’s risk assessment.
The Health District’s updated summary left all seven of its assessed counties at the same level as the last update two weeks ago. Camas County remained at the “high” risk level. Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties all remained “critical.” Click here to view the Health District’s risk assessment summary.
Express Staff Writer Greg Foley will have a full regional COVID-19 update in tomorrow's paper.
• In light of both the risk level and recent surges to COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the Twin Falls City Council will meet on Monday, Nov. 9, to consider implementing a citywide mask mandate. This past Monday, five councilmembers voted in favor of drafting and considering a mandate. One councilmember and Twin Falls Mayor Suzanne Hawkins voted against doing so. As of tonight, the state Department of Health and Welfare was reporting 4,810 confirmed and probable cases in Twin Falls County.
• Recyclables in Blaine County have been diverted to the landfill for the past three weeks, after two COVID-19 cases among staff forced the closure of the Recycle Center. One of those employees was hospitalized, but is now recovering at home, according to County Commissioner Dick Fosbury. On Thursday, Fosbury wrote to the Express that the Recycle Center will hopefully reopen on Monday, Nov. 9. Until then, residents are encouraged to hold on to their recyclable materials.
• The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is investigating the illegal killings of two cow elk out Road Canyon in Game Management Unit 49 north of Carey. The elk were killed prior to the start of the antlerless hunting season on Nov. 1. Furthermore, the carcasses—one entirely intact—were left to waste. Idaho big-game laws stipulate that hunters must remove the edible meat of elk, including along the backbone and quarters.
• Thanks to projects funded by federal CARES Act grants, Carey and Picabo expect to receive high-speed internet by the end of 2020. The fiber network, once completed, will bring high-speed internet to rural households, providing them with greater connectivity and opportunities for remote working and learning amid continued social distancing restrictions.
• The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission has finalized a new housing ordinance to allow accessory dwelling units—known colloquially as “mother-in-law apartments”—in the city’s two Limited Residential zoning districts. The ordinance will go before the Hailey City Council for final review at the end of the month.
For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com.