Snowy Mountains

Snow dusted nearby mountains earlier in the month, but according to the National Weather Service, wintry conditions may descend on the Wood River Valley this weekend. Read on for more details.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 950 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 56,600. Since Oct. 1, Idaho has sustained a 33 percent increase in cases. According to the health department, coronavirus has contributed to 553 deaths in Idaho, seven more than yesterday.

According to the state's numbers, Blaine County gained two more positive cases, leaving local totals at 803 confirmed and 41 probable. As of last night, the South Central Public Health District was monitoring 97 active cases in Blaine County.

Keep reading for more on area COVID-19 risk assessments, Hailey’s Halloween plans and more top new items from Thursday, Oct. 22.

• Blaine County remained in the “critical” COVID-19 risk category today as the county updated its weekly risk assessment dashboard. According to the dashboard, which analyzed risk based on data from Oct. 11-17, the local rate of positive tests was 11.6 percent over the seven-day period. The seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 residents was 33.5.

• Since adopting its own risk assessment model, Blaine County has not factored on the one developed by the South Central Public Health District, which also updated today. The district identified “critical” risk in Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties, noting only Camas County in the lower “high” risk level.

• A house fire in the Heatherlands subdivision between Hailey and Ketchum ignited late last night, prompting response from two dozen firefighters and displacing a local family. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

• With Halloween just around the corner, the city of Hailey announced that it will not host its annual Halloween Hoopla, in light of the current COVID-19 transmission risk level and rising case counts. The trick-or-treating event typically sees around 2,000 participating children and families every year.

For those planning to trick-or-treat, the CDC offers several safety guidelines.

• The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for the Wood River Valley and surrounding areas this weekend. The forecast predicts a nighttime low of 10 degrees and 2-5 inches of snow accumulation.

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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