Thursday, August 13, 2020
Ketchum Joins Hailey in Requiring Masks in Public
Connie and Gary Hoffman were among those obeying Hailey’s mask mandate during the Fourth of July parade.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020


The City of Ketchum has become the latest Idaho city to make face masks mandatory in public.

The Ketchum City Council voted 3-1 on the emergency health order requiring face masks be worn in public places.

Those include retail establishments, government offices, medical facilities, taxi cabs and ridesharing vehicles, and educational, arts and recreational institutions on Monday night.

Idaho had its worst day ever on Tuesday with 487 new cases of coronavirus--most in Ada and Canyon counties. It is more than double the worst day the state had in the spring, notes Paul Ries--222 on April 22. Idaho's new total is 8,539. Twin Falls County also had its worst day ever with 42 new cases, but Blaine County reported just one new case.

Children under 5 are not required to wear masks, nor are people who cannot medically tolerate wearing one. Mask wearing is waived for those communicating with hearing impaired people, for those eating or drinking at a restaurant and for those in outdoor public places where people can stay at least six feet apart.

The penalty for not wearing a mask will be $100.

Hailey passed a similar ordinance last week, as did the cities of Boise, McCall, Driggs and Moscow.

The City of Sun Valley will debate the issue during a special city council meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 9.


The move to mandate face masks comes as the number of coronavirus cases in Idaho surges.

Idaho posted 487 new cases on Tuesday...outdoing its single-day high of 401 on Friday. That brings it to 8,539 reported cases since mid-March. The Gem State and Montana lead the country with a 50 percent increase in cases.

Blaine County reported one new cases, bringing its total to 543.

The state has tallied a couple more COVID-19 related deaths in recent days for a total of 94.

Seventy-five percent of last week’s positive tests were in those under 50 years of age. And many have had to be hospitalized because of breathing problems, St. Luke’s Dr. Joshua Kern told KTVB.

Kern, St. Luke’s vice president of medical affairs, said health officials have seen a four- to five-fold increase in COVID patients. Kern added that Idaho hospitals could soon be admitting nearly 40 people a day—and that would quickly fill hospital beds.

It's gotten so bad in Boise that hospitals are considering restricting elective surgeries again and even one member of the governor's coronavirus task force is now sheltering in place. St. Luke's Boise currently has 51 people hospitalized for COVID-19, including 14 in intensive care. And Saint Alphonsus has 27 patient hospitalized with six in intensive care, according to KTVB.

St. Luke's currently has 80 employees off work due to COVID-19 symptoms. And the overwhelming demand for tests means turnaround times have slowed to a week. Both St. Luke's and Saint Alphonsus are having to restrict testing once again to conserve supplies. Each do between 800 and 1,200 tests per day.

And Central District Health voted Tuesday to reinstate the Stage Three order for Ada County, mandating the closure of bars and nightclubs, restricting care facility visitations and limiting gatherings to no more than 50.


Blaine County will hold a COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9. To register go to Email questions to


Two Twin Falls School District summer school students have tested positive for COVID-19. The high school and middle school students came from the same household, according to KMVT.

The school district determined that most students in summer school had minimal to no exposure but gave parents an array of distance learning options, nevertheless.


One in five of adults in the United States have either moved or know someone who did because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published by the Pew Research Center.

Many were students forced to leave campus when their university shut down. But 28 percent of those who moved said they did so to reduce their risk of contracting the virus. Other reasons include job loss, to be with family or to get a bigger space, according to CNN.



There’s still a lot to learn about whether having COVID-19 confers immunity. But, generally, patients who have been infected with a virus produce memory cells that can recall pathogens and launch an immune response. This immune memory can last a long time—something borne out by survivors of the 1918 flu pandemic and those who contracted smallpox.

Scientists researching the novel coronavirus say early results are encouraging that this may also occur among COVID survivors. In one small study those who recovered all had T helper cells that could detect the virus’ signature spike protein. Seventy percent had long-lived T cells that could extinguish those cells, an immunologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology told NBC News.


Health officials have identified a new swine flu virus in Chinese pigs that could spur a new pandemic. The G4 EA H1N1 virus has acquired increased human infectivity. But so far, the likelihood of it causing a pandemic is low, a biologist for the U.S. National Institutes of Health told Science magazine.


It would seem that potentially pandemic pigs—Chinese pigs capable of exposing humans to another pandemic—would be enough.

Now China is dealing with a suspected bubonic plague in Mongolia. Residents have been ordered not to hunt wild animals such as marmots and to seek medical attention should anyone come down with a fever or other sign of infection, according to the Associated Press.

Bubonic plague, which involves a severe lung infection causing shortness of breath, headache and coughing, can be fatal in 90 percent of cases if not treated with antibiotics.

Happily, China this week has reported just one new cases of the coronavirus in Beijing.


The Louvre in Paris has reopened after a four-month shutdown. But the giant museum, which comprises 484,000 square feet of space or the equivalent of 230 tennis courts, remains off limits to Americans. They’re prohibited from entering France and other countries, such as the United Kingdom, until the United States gets a tighter grip on its COVID infection rate.

The Louvre is the world’s most visited museum, with its biggest customer base coming from the United States before the pandemic. As many as 50,000 people toured it on busy summer days in pre-COVID times, according to the Associated Press.


California has sent 200 state inspectors across the state to ensure businesses are following public health and safety mandates. They made 142 contacts their first day, issuing seven citations, according to the Associated Press.



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