The Twin Falls City Council will decide Monday whether to implement a citywide mask mandate as COVID-19 cases in the Magic Valley continue to climb.

The council voted this past Monday to consider a mandate at its upcoming meeting on Monday, Nov. 9.

Five council members voted in favor of drafting and considering a mandate—Shawn Barigar, Greg Lanting, Ruth Pierce, Christopher Reid and Craig Hawkins—while Nikki Boyd and Mayor Suzanne Hawkins voted against it.

Twin Falls County—along with all other counties in the South Central Public Health District except for Camas County—is at the red risk level, the highest on the scale, for coronavirus transmission, according to an update from Thursday on the public health district website.

Hospital capacity in Twin Falls County has reached a “critical” level, according to the health district’s risk assessment system, and 16 long-term care facilities in the county experienced an outbreak in October.

As of Thursday morning, there were a total of 4,709 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Twin Falls County and 52 deaths, according to the Health District. Of those confirmed and probable cases, 1,799 cases were still being actively monitored.

Blaine County and four of its cities—Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley—implemented mask mandates, legally punishable by a fine, in July. In September, the city of Fairfield, the largest in Camas County, passed a public health emergency order recommending the use of masks.

Email the writer: gkauffman@mtexpress.com

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