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Blaine County’s COVID Risk Turns Critical
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Friday, January 14, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Blaine County’s COVID-19 risk moved to critical this week, with more than one in three Blaine County residents being tested for COVID turning up positive.

Critical is the highest risk level measured by the South Central Public Health District.

The test positivity rate was 35.47 percent between Dec. 26 and Jan. 8. That’s seven times higher than the 5 percent threshold that signals widespread infection.

The county averaged 22.28 new cases per 10,000 residents a day during the 14 days. And the true number of cases is likely underrepresented due to a backlog of processing at the state level.

There were 203 new cases reported among those ages 18-29 and 114 among those ages 30-39. There were 96 cases among those ages 40-49; 88 among those ages 50-59; 69 among those ages 60-69 and 47 among those 70 and older.

There were 37 new cases reported among those ages 5-10; 33 among those ages 14-17, 18 between 11 and 13 and 13 among those 4 and under.

The health district is investigating cases in Blaine County schools. Currently, there are 118 active cases among students and 36 among staff according to the district’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

There were 55 active cases among students at the high school and 27 among those at Hemingway STEAM School. And 224 students were in quarantine because of contact with positive individuals while 30 staff members were quarantined.

Health District investigators are also following up on cases in one long-term care facility.

Although some doctors and staff at St. Luke’s Wood River have caught COVID, the impact is considered minimal, according to the health district. St. Luke’s Magic Valley, however is critically hampered by staffing and space shortages.

In response to the rising case numbers, the Sun Valley Museum of Art announced Friday that it was postponing Henry Whiting’s discussion about Shiro Tsujimura’s Japanese tea bowls. The discussion with New York gallery director Shoko Aono will probably be rescheduled in March, said Tess Burchmore.

But the Blaine County Republican Central Committee plans to go ahead with its annual Lincoln Day Candidate Forum and Silent Auction at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Community Campus auditorium in Hailey.

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