Roundup Protests Hailey Chief

Hailey Police Chief Steve England took a knee in solidarity with protesters Tuesday night.

Blaine County gained two more cases of COVID-19 overnight, according to the South Central Public Health District. That puts local totals at 503 confirmed and 11 probable cases. Neighboring counties are still seeing worse increases day-by-day, however, and where the health district is only monitoring eight cases in Blaine County, it is keeping tabs on more than 150 in Twin Falls.

Today’s news wasn’t quite as COVID-free as yesterday’s, but the top slot was claimed by the hundreds of peaceful demonstrators who took to the streets of Hailey, Bellevue and Ketchum last night to protest against police brutality and systemic racism. Here’s more on that, plus other top news items from Wednesday, June 3.

• Following in the footsteps of cities around the nation, hundreds of Blaine County citizens protested in the streets last night. The demonstration, organized by the Alliance of Idaho, took place in Hailey, Bellevue and Ketchum.

Protesters marched in face masks with handmade signs that condemned racism and showed support for all those who live with its consequences. In each city, participants knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd, a black man, killing him.

Each event proceeded peacefully—even cars caught in the traffic didn’t honk their horns. In Hailey and Bellevue, police officers joined in the demonstration, taking a knee alongside the citizenry.

• The abundance of face masks at last night’s protests acted as a strong reminder that this is still the time of a pandemic. Back on the coronavirus beat, Buitrago reports that antibody testing may not be quite as conclusive as originally hoped.

Facilitators and participants in an antibody study and testing initiative led by the Ketchum Fire Department and the Blaine County Ambulance District began receiving their results roughly one week after being tested, and some did not receive the results they anticipated based on their COVID-19 test results. What exactly that means is still up for debate.

• As Idaho reopens, the number of Idahoans filing for unemployment has started to decrease. While unemployment insurance numbers suggest that some people are starting to get back to work, the unemployment rates in Idaho and Blaine County remain far higher than they would be in a typical year. The state distributed $11.2 million in unemployment benefits the week ending May 23—a decrease from the previous week, but nearly 10 times as much as in the same week in 2019.

In a virtual town hall meeting, Gov. Brad Little addressed the concerns of his electorate--particularly those in hard-hit resort economies. 

• As previously reported, restrictions on large indoor gatherings have yielded an increase in the popularity of certain outdoor recreational activity. Reports from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and local retailers alike have confirmed a major uptick in the issuance of hunting licenses for residents and visitors alike.

As of 5 p.m. tonight, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare counted 2,990 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state, jump in cases of 57 from last night. Of those, 83 people have died.

For more top news stories, pick up a copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at anytime.

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