How Blaine County went from Idaho's COVID-19 hotspot to monitoring less than a dozen cases

Posted at 3:49 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 18:21:20-04

BLAINE COUNTY, Idaho — Blaine County saw one of the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus in the entire state.

Two months later, the South Central Public Health District is monitoring less than a dozen active cases in the county.

RELATED: What phase one of Idaho Rebound looks like for Blaine County

"The outlook is a lot brighter than it was a couple of months ago, and smiles are returning to the faces of people in Blaine County, and I'm delighted for that," said Mayor Neil Bradshaw, with the City of Ketchum. "It's a trickle of positive cases, and many days we're at zero cases. it's very encouraging."

Blaine County Commissioner, Jacob Greenberg, says combating the virus early was key to flattening the curve quickly. Bradshaw says education was a huge part of the process as well, but the biggest part of the success has been each member of the community taking an active role in preventing the spread.

"I think that what happened in Blaine County was so extreme and so severe that it lead to a complete change of behavior very very quickly," Bradshaw said.

As the county and the state prepares to enter phase three of the governor's rebound plan, Greenberg says he still has concerns surrounding testing.

"I'm not quite sure we have all of what we need to do the testing that I would consider to be adequate to mitigate during the reopening," Greenberg said. "The other question is, who will fund this?"

Bradshaw says it's important to keep wearing masks and maintain other safety precautions, even as the state begins to reopen.

"I think the biggest challenge is if we relax our guard. If we are welcoming and we have empathy, and a little bit of luck, we can make for a great summertime," Bradshaw said.

RELATED: An Idaho county had one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks anywhere. Here’s how it recovered

Many summer events are canceled in the county, but Bradshaw expects visitors to come and enjoy the outdoor recreational opportunities Blaine County has to offer. He says those visitors are welcome, as long as they're following proper prevention protocol.

The City of Ketchum is also working to provide information to educate visitors so they can visit safely.