The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare counted 528 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, increasing the total to 19,222. Of those, 6,203 cases have recovered. Health officials are monitoring 12,859 active cases. Eight more people have died, raising Idaho’s death toll to 160.
Blaine County gained three more cases overnight, bringing the confirmed total to 551, though test result turnaround time is currently delayed by about two weeks, according to a spokesperson for St. Luke's Wood River.
Locally, health officials are looking at new ways to share important coronavirus information and county budget discussions continue. Here are the top stories from Tuesday, July 28.
• St. Luke’s Health System will soon launch its own informational coronavirus dashboard. The online tool will help keep the public fully informed regarding COVID-19 testing, demographics and hospitalizations, among other metrics.
• The Blaine County Commissioners have approved a tentative $30.5 million budget for the next fiscal year. The 2021 budget reflects an overall decrease of about 3 percent from this year’s budget, and means the county will have to dip into about half a million dollars of reserve funding for a number of vital expenses.
• Ketchum is bidding a fond farewell to Police Chief Dave Kassner, who on Monday announced his retirement after 34 years on the force. Throughout his years of service, Kassner kept a close watch on pedestrian safety and collision hazards between drivers and cyclists, and was instrumental in starting the annual Children’s Bike Safety Rodeo program.
• The University of Idaho has been conducting some interesting agricultural experiments in Picabo, exploring the possibility of expanding “regenerative agricultural practices” like no-till farming, cover crops and selective grazing.
Those interested in learning more can attend a free tour tomorrow morning.
For the latest local and regional news, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.