Monday, June 1, 2020
Twin Falls County Spike Serve as Cautionary Tale
Rodeo Royalty won’t have as many opportunities to do the wave this summer.
Saturday, May 16, 2020


South Central Public Health District officials are urging residents in the Wood River Valley and Magic Valley to continue to be vigilant about protecting their health as confirmed and probable case counts in Twin Falls County have started to spike over the past few days.

“We know people are sick of wearing masks, of postponing get-togethers and of limiting their visits to stores and other public places. But now is not the time to relax your caution,” said Logan Hudson, the SCPHD Public Health Division administrator.

“If we forget the protective habits we’ve worked to build over the last two months and go back to life as normal, we are asking for a surge in cases that may shut down our economy all over again,” he added.

Twin Falls County saw its total case number jump by 68 between May 4 and 10. It was the largest confirmed COVID-19 case jump in any seven-day period in the county.

The county recorded 28 more cases between May 11 and 14. It recorded 12 new cases on Friday, bringing its total to 310. One case was that of a person who attended a gathering at a restaurant ahead of the governor's orders that allowed restaurants to reopen today, according to Brianna Bodily, of the South Central Public Health District.

As of May 14, 61 residents of long-term care facilities had confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases.

“The residents in these facilities are some of our most at-risk,” said Hudson. “The buildings are locked down, but staff members still have to come and go. That means that while we continue to have cases in the county, our friends, family and neighbors who are living in these facilities are still at risk. You can’t protect these people if you don’t protect the community as a whole.”

Minidoka County also now has community spread, meaning the virus could be anywhere in the community.

“Even as the state works toward reopening, we are still seeing new cases in almost all of our counties,” said Hudson. “This is a good reminder that the virus is still very active and we all need to do our part to protect our communities. Practice social distancing. If an area is too crowded, leave. Wear a mask when you’re around other people. Continue to take precautions so you don’t have to be the next person we are calling on the phone asking to stay indoors for the next two weeks.”

Idaho recorded 38 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing its total cases to 2,389. The third death in Twin Falls County in two days was reported, bringing the state’s death tally to 73 and that county’s death toll to 14. The latest person to succumb to the virus was a non-Hispanic white female 80 or older.

Blaine County recorded one more case bringing its official tally to 508, although dozens more had it and were not teted.

While Idaho enters the Second Stage of its Rebound Idaho program today, Idahoans are still asked to:

  • Maintain six feet between themselves and those outside of their household.
  • Wash hands well and regularly, especially immediately after returning home.
  • Avoid gatherings with more than 10 people.
  • Wear a mask when interacting with people outside home, especially in public areas like grocery stores.

Questions? Call the COVID-19 hotline at 208-737-1138 (208-737-5965 for Spanish speakers).


Hailey Mayor Martha Burke acknowledged on Friday that Wood River Valley residents are recognizing many losses, including the cancellation of events such as the Sawtooth Rangers’ Days of the Old West Rodeo which will not get out of the chutes for the first time since 1947.

“Celebrating the progress we are making, whenever we can, is so very important,” she added.

We can, for instance, celebrate getting a haircut and enjoy going out to dine again, she said. And the City Council has decided to launch the annual 4th of July fireworks display this year. But not the rodeo.

Burke said the Days of the Old West Rodeo represents the rugged tradition of essential workers from times past and present.

“It is a venue for families and friends to enjoy an annual celebration of their heritage, their mentors, their teachers, their families, their working traditions and those who valiantly carry on those traditions,” she said. “It’s a way to tell a story far more eloquently than words, books, movies or even photographs can do. It is an experience that we have been, and will continue to be, proud to bring to Hailey. But not this year.”


The Senior Connection has gone from delivering 125 meals a week to Wood River Valley residents in their homes to 600.

But staff are looking forward to the day when seniors can return to the Senior Connection in Hailey. And part of retrofitting the facilities to ensure their safety is replacing bathroom faucets and soap dispensers with motion-activated ones.

Those who’d like to help the cause can send a check to Box 28, Hailey, ID 83333 or donate online at


The Attic, which benefits The Advocates, is reopening on Monday.

Temporary shopping hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Face masks will be required. Only 10 people will be allowed in the store at one time. All sales will be final—there will be no returns.

Shoppers are asked to practice social distancing and to bring their own bags, as none will be provided.

Drive-through donation hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. only.


Remember the outbreak in the Weiser onion ring plant following a large family gathering? Crush the Curve—Tommy Ahlquist’s initiative—is offering free tests to all 260 workers and their close contacts as a preemptive measure. More than a dozen workers from the plant have tested positive, and the facility has closed down.

“My heart aches for companies like this,” Ahlquist told The Idaho Statesman. “Here’s a company doing the best they can… The business owner, once again, is left standing there holding the bag.”


Experts had said the buffet would go the way of the dinosaurs, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. But Utah is reopening Chuck-a-Rama, Golden Corral and other buffets and salad bars as the Beehive State  shifts into what it calls a “yellow” or low-risk coronavirus safety phase, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. But they will look different, with servers serving diners’ pick of foods, rather than letting patrons serve themselves.


The Northwest has its murder hornets. Now venomous blue dragons the size of sea slugs are washing  up at Padre Island National Seashore in Texas. The creatures, which are predators of Portuguese man-of-wars, pack an excruciatingly painful sting, according to park officials.

And four-foot Argentine Black and White Tegus lizards have somehow ignored America’s border walls, invading Georgia where they’re eating everything in sight, including bird eggs, tortoise eggs, pet food and small animals.


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