Skiing Dollar

Sun Valley got about two inches of fresh snow overnight Thursday, according to Steve Stuebner, Sun Valley forecaster for the website OpenSnow. He predicted another one to three inches throughout the day. The National Weather Service's winter storm warning for the area remains in effect until 10 p.m. Friday.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 312 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total since last March to 170,907. Of those, an estimated 93,975 have recovered.

The state's coronavirus-related death toll rose by nine today to 1,859.

The health department confirmed two new cases in Blaine County today, leaving local totals at 1,951 confirmed and 208 probable. The South Central Public Health District is monitoring 276 cases in Blaine County.

A total of 113,152 Idahoans have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine. A further 120,089 have received their first dose and are awaiting a second. In Blaine County, those numbers are 2,076 and 3,246, respectively.

Keep reading for updates on COVID variants in Idaho, coronavirus-related bills in the Idaho Legislature, plans to develop the Warm Springs Ranch property, and other news from Friday, Feb. 26.

• The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare confirmed cases of two COVID-19 variants in the state. The variants—one that was discovered in the United Kingdom and one first detected in South Africa—spread more easily. As regional and state infection rates plateau, health experts warn the variants could spur case numbers.

Greg Foley has more on the coronavirus here.

• The state Senate has advanced a bill which, if passed, would give county commissioners the power to reject an order issued by their public health district. Meanwhile, legislators are reviewing another bill that would add the terms “pandemic” and “epidemic” to the state’s definition of a “disaster,” but would determine responses based on a disease’s “attack rate” and fatality rate. Under these qualifications, COVID-19 would not be considered a disaster, and so the governor could not declare a state of emergency.

Gretel Kauffman reports.

• The Ketchum Planning & Zoning Commission voted to approve three applications by Sun Valley developer Bob Brennan to downzone and subdivide a 14-acre parcel on the Warm Springs Ranch property at the base of Bald Mountain. Should the City Council approve the applications, the city of Ketchum will be able to move forward on an option to purchase the remaining 64 acres of the property from Brennan.

Read the full story here.

• The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has been receiving more and more reports about mountain lions in Blaine County “being fairly bold, looking into people’s houses and bedding down under peoples decks for the day.” A department wildlife biologist offered tips for maintaining safe coexistence with the apex predators.

Emily Jones has the details.

For more local and regional news, pick up a free copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.

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