Idaho received its second-highest ever single-day increase in COVID-19 cases today, according to the state Department of Health and Welfare. Today's rise of 987 confirmed and probable cases was second only to last Friday's spike, and brought the total to 55,650. According to the health department, coronavirus has contributed to 546 deaths in Idaho, 11 more than yesterday.
According to the state, Blaine County gained 10 more confirmed and one more probable case since yesterday, leaving those totals at 801 and 41, respectively.
Keep reading for more on Blaine County’s rising COVID-19 case count, local governmental response and more top news from Wednesday, Oct. 21.
• As Hailey did last week and Ketchum did yesterday, Blaine County has now tightened its mask requirement and will limit group sizes. The county’s ordinance extends to all of unincorporated Blaine County, but does not supersede orders within the city limits of Hailey, Ketchum, Bellevue, Sun Valley or Carey. Like Hailey’s and Ketchum’s, the county’s new order limits indoor gatherings to 10 and outdoor gatherings to 50—with some exceptions—and requires people to wear face coverings in public where social distancing is not possible. Those who “cannot medically tolerate” a cloth covering must wear a face shield instead.
• Local governments’ decisions come as coronavirus cases continue to surge throughout the county and the state. Idaho recently saw its largest ever single-day increase in cases, and Blaine County is now routinely seeing increases larger than those notched in April. Hospitalizations are rising in kind. Blaine County’s risk assessment has been “critical” since last Thursday, and will be updated again tomorrow.
• The Ketchum City Council passed an emergency ordinance establishing a 90-day moratorium on the demolition of historically or culturally significant buildings in the downtown area. The votes came after a lengthy discussion about changes to the city’s character and what options city officials have to protect historic structures.
• Idaho Mountain Express staff will host a Bellevue Candidates’ Forum tonight via Zoom. Voters will have the chance to hear from candidates for mayor and city council ahead of the November elections.
For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.