Full Moon Della Mountain

February closed out with a brilliant full moon, pictured here over Hailey's Della Mountain.

In the month of February, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 8,297 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19—including 322 since Friday—to leave the total at 171,462. February’s rise was about 38.4% of January’s. Of the total, an estimated 94,707 have recovered.

The coronavirus was considered a contributing factor in the deaths of 132 Idahoans last month, including eight since Friday. The death toll is now 1,867.

Blaine County gained 200 confirmed and probable cases of the virus in February, down from 384 in January. Including the nine new cases counted over the weekend, local totals are now 1,959 confirmed and 209 probable. The South Central Public Health District is monitoring 128 cases in Blaine County—a significant drop from the 276 reported on Thursday.

More than 100,000 Idahoans became fully vaccinated in February, including more than 2,000 in Blaine County. Currently, 126,995 state residents have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine and a further 122,068 have received one dose and await their second. Those numbers are 2,359 and 3,272, respectively, in Blaine County.

Keep reading for updates on state and local COVID-19 incidence rates, Idaho teachers calling for support from state officials, a new grocery store coming to Hailey, and more top news from Monday, March 1.

• Though local COVID-19 rates had been steadily declining over the course of February, they took an upward turn at the end of the month. Statewide infection rates also stopped declining in late February, turning from a five-month low of 13.7 new daily cases per 100,000 residents up to 16.2 on Feb. 26.

Greg Foley breaks down the numbers.

• A group of 12 former Idaho Teachers of the Year published an open letter calling upon the governor, legislators and state agencies to “seize this moment” to strengthen the state’s education system. In their letter, they cite personnel shortages and mental health challenges for students and staff as immediately pressing issues.

Gretel Kauffman reports.

• The Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission is holding a virtual public hearing tonight to consider revising business and licensing regulations for food trucks, which are not currently permitted to conduct business within city limits.

Tony Evans has more on that here.

• The new Grocery Outlet Bargain Market store is on course to open in Hailey on May 27 following an interior remodel of the old King’s Variety Store site on Main Street. The California-based “extreme discount” supermarket sells overstocked and discounted name-brand products.

Emily Jones has more information here.

• The city of Hailey is seeking nominations for its new Heritage Tree project. The public can nominate historically significant or unique trees around town. Those deemed “historic” by the Hailey Tree Committee will receive heightened protections and public awareness. The end goal of the project is to create an interactive walking guide of Heritage Trees.

Click here for details.

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.

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