Canada Geese

A sign of spring: A trio of migrating Canada geese stop for a swim in Hailey's Draper Preserve.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 240 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 172,827. Of those, an estimated 95,808 have recovered.

The state reported no new coronavirus-related deaths today. The death toll remains 1,876.

The health department confirmed four new cases in Blaine County today, leaving local totals at 1,977 confirmed and 211 probable. The South Central Public Health District continues to monitor 107 cases in Blaine County.

To date, 149,653 Idahoans been vaccinated against COVID-19. A further 122,031 have received their first shot and await their second. Those numbers are 2,923 and 3,137, respectively, in Blaine County.

Keep reading for updates on COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the possibility of COVID relief funds heading towards Blaine County, the state’s new vaccine pre-registration system, and more news from Friday, March 5.

• Idaho is gearing up to expand vaccination efforts starting March 15, with another group slated to become eligible for the jab. Frontline workers in food, agriculture, the U.S. Postal Service and public transit sectors will soon qualify.

Greg Foley reports.

• For those groups and residents not yet eligible, the state has just launched a new COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system. Anyone who lives or works in Idaho can now sign up, and will be notified to make an appointment as soon as they become eligible.

Click here for details.

• If the U.S. Senate should pass the Fiscal Year 2021 Reconciliation Act, roughly $130 billion would be distributed to local governments across the nation. That would even out to around $4.5 million of federal funds for Blaine County. The county commissioners have begun to consider how the money would best be spent, if and when it arrives.

Gretel Kauffman has more on that here.

• Gov. Brad Little held a virtual press breakfast this week to elucidate various high-profile topics of discussion from this year’s legislative session, including education, COVID-19, ballot initiatives, and bills designed to limit his and future governors’ powers during times of crisis.

Read more here.

• A 5th District Court judge sided with Kiki Tidwell in her lawsuit against Blaine County, the Blaine County Housing Authority and the ARCH Community Housing Trust, determining that the county illegally issued a building permit for affordable housing on Buttercup Road north of Hailey, near where Tidwell owns property.

Click here for 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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