Advocates Color Memorial Park

In lieu of the annual Black & White Soiree, which has been cancelled, The Advocates are taking a more colorful approach, decorating Ketchum's Memorial Park through this Friday.

Blaine County gained four more confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, according to the South Central Public Health District. That leaves local totals at 513 confirmed and 11 probable cases. Twin Falls, Jerome, Cassia, Minidoka and Lincoln Counties all saw their numbers rise as well. Twin Falls’ combined total of confirmed and probable cases now equals Blaine County’s for the first time.

Coronavirus is back in the news today, as some elected officials convened in protest against the state executive branch and health districts release demographic information. Here are the top headlines from Tuesday, June 23.

• About 15 Idaho lawmakers gathered at the state capitol building in Boise to voice their grievances against Gov. Brad Little’s handling the COVID-19 crisis on Tuesday. Those involved felt as though the executive branch had usurped the legislature’s powers, overstepping and possibly even acting illegally. The legality of the congregation at the capitol is subject to some debate, however. Under the Idaho Constitution, only the governor has the authority to call a special session of the Legislature, the Idaho Attorney General’s Office has maintained.

The move has morphed into an argument on constitutionality and legislative power, Gretel Kauffman reports.

Representatives from District 26 did not attend the special session.

• Health districts across the state have noticed that younger age groups are actually registering higher percentages of COVID-19 infection than older brackets. People aged 18-29 are more likely to catch the virus across Idaho than their older counterparts, though it is less likely to prove fatal to them.

Health officials urge continued caution, reminding young people that even if they are not worried about their own health, it would be easy to pass the virus along to someone with a compromised immune system.

Read more from Alejandra Buitrago here, and find more in tomorrow's issue of the Express.

• This past Saturday, June 20, the Wood River Fire Protection District issued a burn ban, effective immediately, which will last into October. Already this year, local firefighters have responded to a number of wildfires started by humans.

“Our crews have been very busy this season and we’ve hardly just begun,” said Wood River Fire & Rescue Chief Ron Bateman. “This is, first and foremost, about safety. Wildland fires are a labor-intensive reality. Our crews are behind the curve before they’ve left the station.”

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare registered a further 148 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 today, raising the state total to 4,402.

For more top local and regional news, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.

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