Blaine County

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

Idaho hit its highest daily total of coronavirus cases this week with 341 new confirmed cases reported on Tuesday. Now some local governments are responding by mandating face coverings in public.


Tal Roberts / Visit Sun Valley

Blaine County tested a sample of residents for COVID-19 antibodies in April as part of a study, and some of the initial results are in.


Sun Valley Institute

At one point this spring, Blaine County was one of the hardest-hit areas in the country for coronavirus infections. The area, which draws tourists from around the world for both its recreational and arts opportunities, was forced to close. The area’s shops, restaurants, hotels and arts centers went into hibernation as health officials worked to control the spread.

U.S. Census Bureau

Before the coronavirus pandemic, nonprofits had big plans to encourage Idahoans to fill out the 2020 census. Across the state, face-to-face events were scheduled to educate people about the importance of filling out the form and to help them complete it in person. But the stay-at-home order hindered many of those efforts.

Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

For tourism destinations like Sun Valley, events are more than opportunities for gathering and celebration — they mean the promise of flights touched down, hotel rooms booked and meals eaten at local establishments.


Wood River Fire and Rescue

At one point, Blaine County, home to Sun Valley, had the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases in the entire country. It required an all-hands-on deck response from first responders, many of whom didn’t get a break before wildfire season picked up in April. 



Blaine county held its second town hall on the COVID-19 crisis Wednesday night. The community relies on tourism and as Rachel Cohen reports there’s a concern its recovery will be slow.


Sun Valley Institute

After a natural disaster strikes, groups like the Red Cross set up in tents or gyms where people affected can go to seek help.


Courtesy of South Central Public Health District

The South Central Public Health District released an epidemiological curve this week for Blaine County. It maps when people who've tested positive for coronavirus first started feeling sick.


AP Images

As local leaders weigh opening up the economy again, antibody tests for coronavirus are getting a lot of attention. That’s because they can detect whether someone has had the virus in the past, and may be okay to return to work, potentially without being contagious.



Blaine County's social distancing rules that go beyond the state's stay-at-home order were set to expire on Sunday. The restrictions say residents can’t travel outside the county to purchase items they could find in the county, hotels and short-term rentals can’t house visitors, and the construction industry is nonessential. So far, the county, Ketchum and Hailey extended these rules to the end of this week.


Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Doctors, public health workers and government officials are saying social distancing is working in Idaho, and the state is beginning to flatten the coronavirus curve.

Courtesy of St. Luke's Health System

Blaine County will participate in a clinical study to test a random sample of residents for the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies, the city of Ketchum announced Wednesday in a press release.

Courtesy of St. Luke’s Health System

Hospital officials in south central Idaho are cautiously optimistic about the coronavirus picture in the Magic Valley and Wood River Valley.


Courtesy of Charlotte Stevenson

Doctors and nurses are on the front lines of responding to the coronavirus in Idaho, and by default, their families are, too. Charlotte Stevenson, a freelance writer, is the spouse of an emergency room doctor in Ketchum. She shared how her family has been coping with the virus.

"I think there's definitely an element, always, of being the partner of an ER doctor where you've had to accept a different lifestyle and a different level of risk."

Rachel Cohen / Boise State Public Radio

Last week, Blaine County Commissioners voted 2-1 on an ordinance to add local restrictions on top of the statewide stay-at-home order to further promote social distancing.


St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center

If a patient needed to be hospitalized for symptoms of coronavirus in the Wood River Valley today, they’d most likely be transported — by ambulance or helicopter — to a hospital in Twin Falls an hour and a half south, or one in Boise two and a half hours west.



New Jersey National Guard / Flickr Creative Commons


Blaine County has been hit hard by the outbreak of COVID-19. Fourteen of the region's medical personnel -- including two emergency room doctors -- have contracted the virus. 

Governor Brad Little announced a statewide stay-at-home order this afternoon, but leaders in at least one rural county want clearer travel restrictions. Rachel Cohen reports.

Friedman Memorial Airport/screenshot by Boise State Public Radio

Last week, Gov. Brad Little (R) put one county in Idaho — Blaine, home to Sun Valley — under an isolation order through April 13. Residents are not supposed to leave their homes except to do "essential activities" like going grocery shopping, or to the bank or laundromat. Law enforcement agencies in the county say violations of the order could lead to misdemeanor charges.

Courtesy Lisa Enourato / City of Ketchum

Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw says his resort community “is very much like a ghost town right now.”

AP Images

Idaho health officials are issuing an isolation order for Blaine County – the state’s first mandatory lockdown in an area that has reported the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far.


UPDATE: March 16, 9:05 a.m.

We have moved all of our information about the confirmed cases of coronavirus in Idaho to this web post. Please navigate there to stay current — all information beneath this update is outdated.

UPDATE: March 14, 8:21 p.m.

The second Blaine County resident confirmed by South Central Public Health to have tested positive for COVID-19 is a woman over the age of 70. This brings the total of confirmed cases in the state to five. She is currently being hospitalized for her symptoms and is recovering. At this time, officials are still trying to determine how the patient contracted the virus.

Blaine County School District’s controversial superintendent GwenCarol Holmes announced in an email to staff on Monday that she plans to step down in June of next year.

Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

The Sun Valley Culinary Institute is accepting applications for its first professional cooking program that will begin in September.