Sun Valley Baldy Lift

Sun Valley is ready to kick off its 85th winter season tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day. Bald Mountain will open its runs, including the new Cold Springs expansion. The resort has put several new health protocols in place. Read below for more details.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 1,773 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today. For reference, the largest ever single-day increase in cases is 1,786. Today's rise brings the state total to 96,503, of which health officials continue to monitor an estimated 56,409.

Another 21 Idahoans have died of coronavirus-related illness, according to the state, leaving the death toll at 895.

State officials counted another 18 confirmed one probable case in Blaine County today, increasing local totals to 1,172 confirmed and 84 probable. As of last night, the South Central Public Health District was monitoring 225 active cases in Blaine County. The district has not yet updated its data today.

Keep reading for updates on revised health orders in Hailey and Ketchum, the Health District board's vote against a mask mandate, Sun Valley Resort's 85th season opening day and more top news from Wednesday, Nov. 25.

• The board of the South Central Public Health District voted 5-4 last week to reject a measure making face coverings mandatory in the Magic Valley and Wood River Valley. The board consists of one medical consultant and one non-medical representative for each of the district’s eight counties. Blaine County Commissioner Angenie McCleary, who represents Blaine on the board, voted in favor of the mask requirement, and expressed severe disappointment with the board’s decision.

• The Ketchum City Council approved a new citywide health order to expand and clarify various coronavirus-related regulations. The new order maintains provisions of its predecessor, enacted Nov. 3, but also adds specific regulations for recreational facilities, offices and construction sites. This move comes as the Sun Valley Resort prepares for its Thanksgiving Day opening and health officials urge citizens to avoid unnecessary travel during the holidays.

• Meanwhile, after a tumultuous public debate, the Hailey City Council moved to relax certain restrictions placed on local businesses. During the two-hour public comment session, several commenters resorted to personal attacks against the council and mayor. Many of those who spoke were not Hailey residents and some refused to give their names, despite that being a requirement for making public comment. Among the more vitriolic comments were those that compared the mayor and city council to Nazis.

• Representatives from the St. Luke’s Health System urged adherence to CDC guidelines and strongly discouraged unnecessary traveling for the holidays. Doctors recommend the use of face coverings, social distancing, quarantining after travel and alternative modes of celebration this Thanksgiving.

• Sun Valley Resort is kicking off its 85th annual winter ski season tomorrow and will unveil its new Cold Springs expansion. Several new safety protocols are in place to limit the spread of coronavirus this season.

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

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