A high school in Minidoka County cancelled their plans to hold a traditional graduation ceremony for its seniors on May 21, following a rise in cases and a press release from the South Central Public Health District that reported community spread in the county.
According to a story published by the Times News on May 10, Minidoka County School District Superintendent Ken Cox was aware that the planned ceremony for Minico High School’s 190 seniors would break the governor’s guidance of not congregating groups of more than 10 people, but had decided to do it anyway, with proper social distancing measures in place. However, after additional cases were reported in the county later that week, the school has decided to hold alternate graduation plans, according to the Times News.
On May 15, the health district reported that Minidoka County had its first case of community spread, after a person was infected with the virus and had no recent travel out of the state and no known contact with a COVID-19 patient. As of Monday, Minidoka County had 15 confirmed cases, three probable cases and zero deaths, according to the state’s coronavirus website.
“Even as the state works toward reopening, we are still seeing new cases in almost all of our counties,” South Central Public Health District Public Health Division Administrator Logan Hudson said in the May 15 press release.
Within the health district, which includes Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties, Blaine was the first with confirmed COVID-19 cases on March 14. Since then, cases have been declared in every county in the health district, with Twin Falls reporting the second highest number of cases, 268. Blaine County remains first with 497 confirmed cases as of Monday.
In a separate press release issued on May 15, the health district continued to urge Twin Falls County residents to be vigilant as it saw a case jump of 68 between May 4 and May 10, the largest jump in a seven-day period in the county. Several of the new cases are residents or staff members in long-term care facilities within the county. As of May 14, South Central Public Health District reported 61 residents of long-term care facilities with confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases.
“We know people are sick of wearing masks, of postponing get-togethers, and of limiting their visits to stores and other public places—but now is not the time to relax your caution,” Hudson said in the press release.
While Blaine County’s curve appears to have flattened for now, surrounding counties, including Twin Falls and Jerome, continue to see rises. The health district reminds residents to protect their communities by washing their hands, maintaining six feet of distance between themselves and people outside their household, and wearing a mask when they interact with people outside their home, especially in public areas such as grocery stores.