The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 873 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 54,663. Coronavirus is considered a contributing factor in a total of 535 deaths, four more than yesterday.
Based on the state's numbers, Blaine County gained 18 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, leaving local totals at 791 confirmed and 40 probable. Today's increase is Blaine County's second largest in a single day since April 3.
In response to the mounting numbers, Ketchum passed a stricter health order on Monday, and the Senior Connection announced a temporary closure. Keep reading for more on that, plus a statewide unemployment update and more top news from Tuesday, Oct. 20.
• The city of Ketchum has approved and enacted a new public health order enforcing stricter face mask requirements and limiting the size of indoor and outdoor public gatherings. Ketchum’s move follows a similar revised health order passed by Hailey last week, enforcing very similar rules. Unlike Hailey's, Ketchum’s order still provides exemptions for people “who cannot tolerate wearing a face covering” for medical reasons.
• The Senior Connection in Hailey will close for at least two weeks starting Wednesday, Oct. 21. Though the organization reports no cases of COVID-19 among its staff, volunteers or membership, representatives from the group said they are pursuing this closure out of an abundance of caution as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the area and the county’s transmission risk hovers in the “critical” range, according to the county's assessment protocol. Meals will still be available via curbside pickup or delivery.
• Statewide unemployment claims fell for the 23rd consecutive week, dropping 8 percent for the week ending Oct. 10, according to the Idaho Department of Labor. The four-week moving average is dropping in kind.
• A team of Blaine County Sheriff’s Office deputies and staff from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game successfully rescued a bull elk that nearly drowned in the Big Wood River last week, struggling to keep its head above water after tangling its antlers in a hammock. Fish and Game remind the public that elk and moose can easily tangle their antlers in hammocks, wires, nets, swing sets and other household items.
• The city of Ketchum will host an open house Wednesday afternoon at the Hulen Meadows pond to take public input on the restoration plan for the Sun Peak Preserve riparian area and the pond.
• The Mountain Express will host Bellevue mayor and city council candidates tomorrow night for our second virtual Candidates’ Forum event of the year. Voters can tune in to hear from candidates and pose questions.
For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.