The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 396 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 today, raising the state’s total since March to 36,489. Of those, an estimated 19,691 patients have recovered. Idaho also added five more to its coronavirus-related death toll, leaving that total at 434.
The state counted one more confirmed and three more probable cases among Blaine County residents today, raising those totals to 597 and 24, respectively.
Read on for more about nearby wildfires, how COVID-19 has closed the Camas County School District, and an investigation into a potentially illegal dewatering of the Big Wood River. Here are the top stories from Thursday, Sept. 17.
• Multiple students in the Camas County School District have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the district to close its doors until Oct. 5. Superintendent Janet Williamson confirmed the closure with the Mountain Express this morning, but has not specified how many students tested positive for the virus.
This announcement comes just a few days after the South Central Public Health District confirmed community spread in Camas County and the Blaine County School District confirmed three of its own positive cases.
As of tonight, Camas County has 13 confirmed and four probable cases of COVID-19.
• The Badger Fire near Oakley has grown to 35,314 acres. The blaze is currently zero percent contained and full containment is not expected until Oct. 31. Six engines, two tactical water tenders, five helicopters and two dozers are on the scene, along with 149 firefighters.
Meanwhile, the 3,980-acre Grouse Fire near Fairfield was 30 percent contained as of this morning. The Trap Creek Fire near Stanley has grown to 420 acres since it ignited Monday, prompting a partial closure of state Highway 21.
• A property owner on Hyndman View Drive allegedly drew 1 million gallons from the East Fork of the Wood River to fill a private pond, causing a 3-mile stretch of the channel to go dry for 27 hours. The dewatering resulted in the deaths of thousands of fish. The state is currently investigating the situation, with the illegality of the property owner’s actions in question.
• Tonight’s Wood River High School homecoming football game has been canceled. The matchup against Minico Spartans was called off due to an increased COVID-19 risk level in Minidoka County, home of the Spartans. With that, all of WRHS’s homecoming events have now been canceled.
• A Grocery Outlet Bargain Market is heading to Hailey, set to occupy the former King’s Variety Store site on Main Street. Remodeling is underway at the building, though it is not yet clear when the store plans to open. The California-based “extreme discount” supermarket chain sells overstocked and discounted name-brand products.
• Oktoberfest is back. The Sawtooth Brewery’s annual celebration is relocating to Festival Meadows this year to accommodate for social distancing. With the appropriate health precautions in place, revelers can enjoy beer, food, live music and activities as they “get their German on” Friday and Saturday.
For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.