The mayors of Ketchum and Sun Valley are asking Idaho’s governor for additional resources and increased testing capabilities as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Blaine County continues to rise.
In a letter sent to Gov. Brad Little on Sunday morning, Mayor Neil Bradshaw of Ketchum and Mayor Peter Hendricks of Sun Valley formally requested that the state take “immediate action” to provide the county with more resources, increased testing, and expedited test results.
“Our goal is to stem the tide of a fast-moving, ever-evolving pandemic in our county,” Bradshaw and Hendricks said.
Blaine County, which currently has the highest concentration of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, has been under a state-issued “shelter in place” order since 11:59 p.m. Friday night. As of Sunday morning, Idaho’s dedicated coronavirus webpage listed Blaine County as having 21 of the state’s 42 cases.
“The number of individuals with symptoms is much higher than the number of confirmed cases,” Bradshaw and Hendricks said. “The hospital and EMS services are nearing capacity making testing a critical need.”
In their letter, the mayors applauded the self-isolation order from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
“The residents of Sun Valley and Ketchum are diligently following the order,” Bradshaw and Hendricks said. “However, in order to curtail further spread, we believe it is important to identify those who have COVID-19 and quarantine and separate them from the healthy population.”
The letter noted the “older population” in the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley, where the average age is above 50.
“Our residents are in a highly vulnerable demographic,” Bradshaw and Hendricks said. “Many individuals could have been previously exposed, yet without additional resources and expedited testing, we are putting our population at great risk.”
Earlier this month, the Idaho Legislature approved a request from Little to put $2 million into an emergency fund for coronavirus testing and response.