Idaho topped 1,000 coronavirus deaths today. With 23 deaths recorded since yesterday, the full toll now stands at 1,014, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Meanwhile, the state reported another 1,721 confirmed and probable cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 106,455 since the pandemic began. Of those, 63,167 are considered active by health officials.
Blaine County added 24 confirmed cases among residents today, raising its totals to 1,252 confirmed and 92 probable cases, respectively. The South Central Public Health District is monitoring 231 of those cases.
Keep reading for more on the county's COVID-19 risk assessment, leadership positions in for District 26 legislators, and more top stories from Thursday, Dec. 3.
• Blaine County remains at "critical" risk for the spread of coronavirus, according to today's update to the county's COVID-19 dashboard, which is based on data from Nov. 22-28. That's the highest tier on the risk assessment rubric.
Regionally, the story is much the same. Seven of the eight counties under the South Central Public Health District--Blaine, Lincoln, Twin Falls, Minidoka, Gooding, Cassia and Jerome--are at the "critical" COVID-19 risk level on the Health District's metric. Only Camas County, which was deemed "high" risk, was not. We'll have more on the coronavirus pandemic in tomorrow's issue of the paper.
• District 26's all-Democrat delegation is shaping up to be influential within the Idaho legislature's minority party again this year. Six-term Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, was reelected Wednesday to serve as Minority Leader of the Idaho Senate. Meanwhile, Rep. Sally Toone, D-Gooding, was elected to the House Minority Caucus Chair position.
• The Blaine County School District Board of Trustees plans to interview candidates for its recently-vacated superintendent position in the next couple of weeks, Kauffman reports. The board plans to pick a replacement for GwenCarol Holmes by mid-January. Holmes, who was always slated to leave at the end of the academic year, abruptly resigned on Nov. 12.
• Lincoln County businesses have been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, County Commissioner Rebecca Wood told the Express. Now, they'll have the opportunity to tap federal coronavirus funds for a measure of relief.
For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of Friday's Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.