HAILEY, Idaho (KLIX)-Blaine County has moved to a more stringent COVID-19 risk level gauge to deal with the pandemic in a more specific way in the tourist mountain communities of the Wood River Valley.

The county announced the move late last week to go with a stricter COVID-19 Risk Level Plan and Dashboard based on the Harvard Global Health Institute, as apposed to the one South Central Public Health District (SCPHD) uses for the eight county region it services.

“With this stricter Blaine County Risk Level Plan there is an opportunity to get the cases under control. Now is a critical time to come together as a community to again reduce our case numbers. I know people are fatigued, but we must remain vigilant and not let down our guard,” stated Angenie McCleary, Blaine County Commissioner in a prepared statement. “We need to continue to wear our face coverings, wash our hands, maintain proper distancing, and stay home if sick. We need to do everything we can to keep our schools and businesses open. I know none of us want to end up in the place we were last March.”

Part of the decision to go with the different model is the Wood River Valley's identity as a tourist destination community with many people traveling in and out of the area. As of October 1, under the new gauge, Blaine County is under an "orange" risk level. The risk level will be updated every seven days and the assessment will be made by Blaine County Medical Director, Dr. Terry O'Conner, other medical officials and SCPHD.