The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare counted another 495 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 25,595, of which 9,548 have recovered. Coronavirus is considered a contributing factor in 246 deaths statewide, seven more than yesterday.
The state has counted one more positive case among Blaine County residents, leaving the total at 563 confirmed and 15 probable. According to St. Luke's new data dashboard, 25 Blaine County residents are still awaiting test results.
Meanwhile, firefighters make progress in containing the Phillips Creek Fire, investigations continue into a fatal shooting in Custer County and another earthquake reshapes the Sawtooth skyline. Here are those and other top news items from Tuesday, Aug. 11.
• The Phillips Creek Fire near Fairfield was 86 percent contained as of this morning. This represents a major improvement upon the situation in the course of just one day. On Monday morning, only 7 percent of the fire had been contained. More than 400 people are battling the blaze, which had spread to more than 2,000 acres.
• With fire season in full swing, the Ketchum Fire Department has initiated new fire restrictions within Ketchum’s city limits, effective immediately. Prohibiting open fires, campfires and smoking in open areas, the restrictions will remain in place until further notice.
• Questions loom over a fatal shooting involving an off-duty police officer deep in the backcountry of Custer County. Though ten days have passed, investigators have yet to release the name of the victim or elaborate upon the officer’s involvement. A spokesman from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office did confirm that the officer was not a Custer County deputy. The investigation is ongoing.
• A 4.2-magnitude earthquake triggered a large rockslide in the Sawtooths on Friday, resulting in the toppling of a 120-foot granite rock formation called Baron Spire, colloquially referred to in the climbing community as “Old Smoothie.” Friday’s quake was one of more the dramatic aftershocks of a 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck the Sawtooths on March 31.
• The Sun Valley Community School intends for students to attend classes in person five days a week once the school year begins on Aug. 31. This contrasts with the Blaine County School District’s hybrid at-home/at-school plan, but the Community School is a private institution and therefore not subject to BCSD policy. School spokesman Ryan Waterfield allowed that things could change between now and the end of the month, though.
• The Bellevue City Council voted to cancel its city-run Labor Day celebrations this year, citing the high cost of insurance during ongoing COVID-19 uncertainty. The resolution was passed unanimously. Councilman Shaun Mahoney encourages private businesses to celebrate the holiday with specials and outdoor music instead of the typical parade.
For more top local and regional news, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Idaho Mountain Express or visit mtexpress.com at any time.