Wednesday, April 14, 2021
COVID Shutters Recycling Center, Idaho Burns On and Albertson’s Offers Free COVID Tests
Youngsters wore masks upon masks for the Wood River Community YMCA’s Halloween Bash last week.
Wednesday, November 4, 2020



Got recyclables? You may want to hang onto them a little longer.

The recycling center at Ohio Gulch closed last week because of a COVID outbreak, leaving the center without anyone to sort recyclables. It will remain closed until Monday, Nov. 9.

Blaine County now has recorded 930 cases of coronavirus—21 of those since Friday.

Until then, recyclables picked up curbside are going in the trash, a spokesperson said.

“I chose to hang on to mine and wait for the Recycling Center to re-open,” said Ketchum resident Julie Brewer. “I’m sure there are others who would do the same if they knew.


Albertsons is now offering free at-home COVID saliva test kits. The supermarket chain based in Boise and Safeway are offering the option to help prevent the spread of the virus, particularly in rural areas where it may be harder to secure a test.

Ouch. Idaho recorded a record high 1,179 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday for a total of 67,024. It added 17 more deaths on Wednesday for 647 total.

To get one, you must request one online, then either pick it up or have it delivered. To take the test, spit into a test tube. Then send the test to a lab in a packet with a prepaid shipping label. Results should be available within 48 to 72 hours. The PCR test is 98 percent-plus accurate—similar to that of nasal swab tests.

The tests are being made free due to a $357,000 grant from the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy.


The Blaine County Recreation District announced Friday that it will be releasing a weekly Program Dashboard, showing which programs and facilities are operating. It will open the Indoor Playground, Pickleball and the gym when the Risk Assessment Scale being followed by Blaine County is at orange or lower.

Currently, HUB After School Care is operating, as is Fitworks. Indoor soccer is on hold, and the Youth Basketball season has yet to be determined.

To see the dashboard, visit


It may be November, but it’s still fire season, given how dry this year has been.

Residents near Donnelly, Idaho, near McCall have been told to be ready to evacuate after a fire burning on the West Mountain of Tamarack Ski Resort doubled in size to 110 acres overnight.

The West State fire started Monday afternoon and is burning in sub-alpine fir. Firefighters are providing structure protection for the mid-lodge. Authorities have said the fire is human caused but not the result of a prescribed burn.

Firefighters planned on attacking it Tuesday with helicopters and air tankers.

Closer to Sun Valley, the Sulphur Fire recently started two miles northwest of the put-in for the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. That’s just northwest of Stanley. It had grown to 27 acres at last report and is burning in lodgepole, subalpine fir, and dead and down timber in the vicinity of the burn scar of the 2018 Prospect Fire.

Eighteen firefighters and a Type I and Type II helicopter have been fighting it.

Also, a fire of under an acre recently started on Poison Flat near Deer Creek.

Since there’s been no lightning in the area, it’s safe to assume both are human caused.


Blaine County Sheriff Steve Harkins has called off the search for a missing Utah hiker. Searchers have exhausted their resources after 10 days of searching, Harkins said.

Fern Baird, a 63-year-old hiker from Park City, Utah, is believed to have set out for a hike in the Prairie Creek area on Oct. 19 after signing the register there. She was reported missing three days later. Her family is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to her rescue.


Smaller hospitals in Magic Valley have become overwhelmed by the surge in hospitalizations. During the past two weeks Cassia Regional Hospital and Minidoka Memorial Hospital have hit patient capacity twice. And North Canyon Medical Center in Gooding says its two coronavirus rooms are regularly full, according to the Twin Falls Times-News.

Administrators say doctors, nurses and other caregivers are getting sick. And they’re tired, as well, from caring for far more patients than usual. The percentage of staff getting the virus is the same as that of people getting the virus within the community, according to a study at Intermountain Health Care in Utah, which owns the Cassia hospital, said Cassia Regional hospital Administrator Ben Smalley.

On Friday, the Times-News reported, Minidoka Memorial in Rupert had 16 employees out with the virus or quarantined due to exposure. It had to stop taking new patients until this week when it hoped to have more staff available. Minidoka also had to turn away a trauma patient. With no Idaho hospitals able to take her she was transferred to a Utah hospital.

 But administrators at Utah hospitals says there’s a one in four chance they will be also be full in two weeks. If that happens, they will have to start deciding who goes on a ventilator and who doesn’t. Younger people would be prioritized.


As Magic Valley hospitals fill up, the Twin Falls City Council voted this week to considering a city-wide mask mandate. The proposed ordinance will be voted on next Monday.

Those voting in favor are concerned about people being transferred to other hospitals because St. Luke’s Magic Valley is at capacity. They also expressed concern about the harm to businesses if Idaho is forced to lock down again.

Mayor Suzanne Hawkins said she feared a mandate could drive business to other towns where face coverings are not mandated.


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