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After more than four hours of public comment, the Twin Falls City Council voted Monday night to table an ordinance requiring face coverings in public.

The vote came as cases in the Magic Valley continue to climb and hospital capacity becomes increasingly strained.

Six council members—Shawn Barigar, Greg Lanting, Ruth Pierce, Christopher Reid, Nikki Boyd and Mayor Suzanne Hawkins— voted to table the mandate, while Craig Hawkins voted against the tabling motion.

Hospital capacity in Twin Falls County has reached a “critical” level, according to the South Central Public Health District’s risk assessment system, and the Health District is monitoring outbreaks in 17 local long-term care facilities.

As of Tuesday, there were a total of 5,225 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Twin Falls County and 60 coronavirus-related deaths, according to both the Health District website and the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

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

For the full story, see the Wednesday edition of the Mountain Express.

Email the writer: gkauffman@mtexpress.com

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