Smoky Construction

Construction on the new Marriott Hotel in Hailey continued on Monday, despite poor air quality resulting from wildfire smoke.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 278 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 today, raising the state total to 35,810. Health officials considered coronavirus a contributing factor in another four deaths today, leaving the statewide death toll at 423. An estimated 19,075 patients have recovered.

Blaine County gained one more confirmed and one more probable case of COVID-19 today, according to the state. That brings local totals to 596 confirmed and 20 probable. The South Central Public Health District, which counts one additional probable case for Blaine, is currently monitoring 12 active cases in the county.

Camas County, where community spread was confirmed yesterday, gained six confirmed cases overnight, leaving totals at 10 confirmed and one probable.

Keep reading for breaking news on COVID-19 in the school district, two cases of a pediatric disease linked to the coronavirus, and a 23,500-acre wildfire burning near Oakley. Here are the top stories from Tuesday, Sept. 15.

• Less than a week into the school year, the Blaine County School District has confirmed its first cases of COVID-19, according to Superintendent GwenCarol Holmes. On Monday, Wood River High School parents received an email announcing cases had been confirmed “involving” staff at the high school. On Tuesday, Holmes told the Mountain Express that two staff members had tested positive and had “already been off work for several days.”

BCSD staff received an email later Tuesday afternoon in which Holmes said that a WRHS student had also tested positive for the coronavirus.

• The South Central Public Health District and St. Luke’s Health System jointly confirmed two cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) today. Both children have been hospitalized.

The rare complication of COVID-19 causes inflammation in several areas of the body, including the heart, lungs, brain and kidneys. Medical officials urge continued vigilance. Parents should watch for symptoms of the syndrome, which include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, bloodshot eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain and rash.

• The Badger Fire near Oakley quadrupled in size overnight. By Tuesday morning, the blaze had grown to 23,500 acres in size. Great Basin Nevada Sierra Front Type 3 Team assumed command of the situation this morning with 94 personnel, four engines and two dozers deployed. Containment is not expected until Oct. 31.

Meanwhile, crews have contained 8 percent of the Grouse Fire, now burning at 3,922 acres near Fairfield. And, as of Tuesday afternoon, state Highway 21 remained closed between Stanley and Lowman due to the Trap Fire. 

• As of 4 p.m., the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality rated the Wood River Valley’s air quality as “unhealthy.” Under this designation, the air could pose health threats to all who breathe it, not just those in sensitive groups. Smoke from wildfires across the western states continues to blanket the area.

• The Hailey City Council formally extended the city’s emergency health order by 90 days last night, legally requiring residents to wear face masks in most public places until at least Dec. 27.

Mayor Martha Burke and the council agreed that although the local COVID-19 situation has improved lately, continued preventative measures would be key to avoid a backslide.

For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.

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