Monday, June 1, 2020
Could Your Favorite Lab Be Enlisted in the Fight Against Coronavirus?
Put this dog’s nose to use for more smelling the flowers!
Thursday, April 30, 2020


We’ve all heard about the various ways to test for coronavirus and its antibodies, ranging from nasal swabs to finger pricks.

Blaine County may be covered nicely if a new way of testing currently being researched proves effective.

Labrador retrievers—introduced to America by Sun Valley’s Averell Harriman--are being trained by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania to see if they can sniff out the coronavirus.

Paul Ries added just one new case to Blaine County’s Coronavirus Curve on Wednesday.

Research shows that viruses have odors and, if dogs can detect the disease, they and their powerful noses could be used at hospitals, businesses and airport to screen the virus, according to The Washington Post.

Other universities, including Durham University, the Canine Performance Sciences at Auburn University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, are conducting similar research.

Dogs already are used to sniff out cancer, diabetes and malaria, as well as things like explosives. It’s hoped that the dogs in the study will learn that there’s something different about the odor of coronavirus from other odors.

Spurred on by the reward of food, the dogs will train using urine and saliva samples collected from patients who have tested positive and negative. Researchers say each dog could screen up to 250 people an hour.


As we approach Friday—the day Gov. Brad Little hopes to relax some of the restrictions placed in Idaho to slow the spread of coronavirus--Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw says we are now at a point where we must consider opening up our economy and social life in a responsible way.

“A way that reassures those concerned over the resurgence of the virus, while allowing others to put food on the table. A way that restores our lives and livelihoods, while managing the risk COVID presents,” he says.

“We want to plot a way forward that is sympathetic to our well-being. A way that encourages connection and collaboration and a way that allows us to share smiles and laughter,” he added.

Tactics for doing that, he said, include taking personal responsibility for your own protection. Those in a high-risk demographic due to age or health issues must take additional precautions.

Everyone, he said, should continue to maintain a safe distance. And wear a mask in public, even if it’s a homemade mask.

“They are better at keeping you from infecting other people than they are at keeping you from being infected,” said Bradshaw. “Masks also help remind you not to touch your face. But they are no guarantee of safety and still require us to keep a safe distance.”

Bradshaw noted that COVID has brought great fear to the community, ranging from fear of infection and fear of our livelihood to fear for our finances.

“While we are now seeing encouraging health data, there is also the fear we may see a return to the days of March if we don’t maintain the status quo,” he said. “Yet we also know we cannot survive if we stay paralyzed; we must move forward.”

Bradshaw pledged his city government will stay nimble, constantly monitor the situation and be prepared to change course, if necessary.


Costco will require shoppers to wear face masks beginning Monday, May 4. Of course, they didn’t say how shoppers should wear the masks. A bald man in the Twin Falls Costco was spotted Wednesday wearing his on the top of his head as if it were a party hat, instead of covering his nose and mouth with it.


Idaho gained 32 new cases of confirmed COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to 1,984. Only one of those new cases was that of a Blaine County resident, bringing 5B to 498.


Much has been made over the fact that the United States is woefully short of the testing it needs to safely reopen the country. It’s only doing half the testing it needs to, to be specific.

But a study conducted by the Harvard Global Health Institute says that Idaho is testing enough people to begin easing restrictions on Friday, as Gov. Brad Little has planned. Testing should be based on the size of the outbreak in a state, Researcher Ashish Jha told KTVB.

Wyoming, for instance, only needs to test 85 people a day to keep up. Idaho needs to test 260 people a day to begin opening back up. California needs to test 100 times that amount.

Idaho is currently 73 tests ahead of the state’s testing gap—not as good as Washington but better than California, Jha said.


South Central District Health Department reports that its district contains 39 percent of Idaho’s confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to KMVT. The reason: The district has the top four counties out of Idaho’s 44 counties that have the highest disease rate per 100,000 people.

The district includes Blaine, Lincoln, Camas, Jerome, Gooding, Twin Falls, Cassia and Minidoka counties. Blaine County, of course, has the highest rate per thousand, followed by Lincoln, Twin Falls and Jerome counties.


Blaine County Democrats will hold a Candidate Forum on Zoom from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 1. The forum will showcase candidates who will be on the ballot in the Idaho State Primary on May 19.

The forum will include in-depth statements from Paulette Jordan and Jim Vandermaas, the two candidates hoping to challenge Sen. Jim Risch in the general election.

Other participants will include Blaine County Commissioner Jacob Greenbeerg; Idaho State Representatives Muffy Davis and Sally Toone and Idaho Sen. Michelle Stennett. Also appearing will be Aaron Swisher, candidate for U.S. Congress.

If time allows, there will be a question-and-answer period.

To tune in, register at


Alturas Elementary School is having a drive-by Cinco de Mayo parade on Thursday.

Parade participants will gather at O’Donnell Park off Slaughterhouse Road in Bellevue about 2:30 p.m. and, hopefully, be on their way by 2:45 p.m., said Principal Brad Henson.

The parade will head down Elm Street to Sixth Street where it will jog over to Cedar Street. It then will follow Second Street to Spruce Street where it will head onto the highway.

The parade will leave the highway at Woodside Boulevard and follow that and Buckhorn Drive to Quigley Road where it will head west. It will take another jog on Fifth Street and pass by Hailey Elementary School before following First Avenue to pass by Wood River Middle School. It will then swing onto McKercher Boulevard, winding up near Albertsons.


Idaho Shakespeare Festival has cancelled its first two shows of the season—“Much Ado About Nothing” and Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” The Boise festival was scheduled to have launched on May 22.

The festival could open in late June during Stage Four of Gov. Brad Little’s plan for reopening the state. Shows scheduled June through September include “Henry V” and “Emma.”


Dr. Anthony Fauci has conferred a blessing of sorts on the drug Remdesivir, which was developed to fight Ebola, saying the latest study showed that the drug reduced the time it took coronavirus patients to recover by 31 percent.

Patients receiving the drug recovered in 11 days on average as it blocked the virus, while those not given the drug took 15 days.

The study run by the National Institutes of Health tested 1,063 hospitalized coronavirus patients. The FDA is talking with the California manufacturer Gilead about making Remdesivir available as quickly as possible as it seeks to authorize the drug for emergency use.


UPS and CVS are using Matternet M2 drones to deliver prescriptions to residents of a 350,000-member retirement community northwest of Orlando, Fla. The service is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Initially, the drops will be made to a pickup location near the retirement community with a UPS ground vehicle taking deliveries to the resident’s door. Eventually, they hope to deliver the prescriptions to the residents’ doors.






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