The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 655 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide over the weekend, including 337 today, raising the total to 181,836. Of those, an estimated 101,798 have recovered.
The state coronavirus-related death toll rose by six since Friday to 1,972.
Blaine County gained three confirmed cases over the weekend, leaving local totals at 2,058 confirmed and 217 probable. The South Central Public Health District continues to monitor 34 cases in Blaine County.
A total of 311,731 Idahoans are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A further 172,923 state residents have received the first dose of a two dose vaccine and await their second. In Blaine County, those numbers are 6,801 and 4,060, respectively.
Keep reading for news of COVID-19 variants in Blaine County, Mountain Rides’ new non-emergency medical service to Twin Falls, vaccine eligibility in Idaho and more news from Monday, April 5.
• The South Central Public Health District announced Friday that two variants of COVID-19 have been identified in Blaine County. Both are considered more transmissible than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. The Health District confirmed 12 cases of the COVID-19 California variant and four of the UK variant. The cases have only been identified in Blaine County and not in any of the district’s other seven counties.
• As of today, all Idahoans aged 16 and older are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Residents can sign up through the state Department of Health and Welfare or St. Luke's Health System to be notified when appointments become available.
• After receiving a significant funding contribution from the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation, Mountain Rides Transportation Authority is extending its fare-free pilot bus route to Twin Falls through the end of 2021. The new service, intended for non-emergency medical transportation between Twin Falls and the Wood River Valley, officially launched this morning.
• Gas prices have soared across Idaho, according to AAA. The state’s average gas price is about $3.04 per gallon—$0.45 more expensive than in February and $0.70 pricier than this time last year. AAA stated that although the recent Suez Canal blockage may delay oil deliveries to other countries, it shouldn’t affect the United States.
• The Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission is holding a public hearing tonight at 6 p.m. to consider new regulations for food trucks, which are currently not permitted to operate within city limits. All P&Z commissioners expressed support last month in favor of opening up Bellevue to mobile food vendors.
For more local and regional news, visit mtexpress.com at any time and look for a free copy of Wednesday’s Idaho Mountain Express newspaper.