Greg Moore SV Mask

A bill to ban government mask requirements at the state and local level has passed the Idaho House of Representatives and will now go to the state Senate.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 210 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 184,557. Since the pandemic began, 2,015 people have died.

Blaine County gained 6 confirmed and no probable cases today, leaving local totals at 2102 confirmed and 228 probable. The South Central Public Health District continues to monitor 53 cases in Blaine County. 

A total of 389,905 Idahoans are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A further 166,235 state residents have received the first dose of a two dose vaccine and await their second.

Keep reading for updates on a new state bill that would ban mask requirements, the end of a free COVID testing program, Blaine County’s COVID-19 transmission risk, and more news from Thursday, April 15.

• The Idaho House of Representatives has passed a bill banning any state or local government entity—including public schools—from implementing face-covering requirements of any kind. The bill will now head to the state Senate.

Gretel Kauffman reports.

• The COVID Outreach Wood River testing program for people who are asymptomatic ended today. The program was started in November to provide free testing to people who may have been exposed to coronavirus. St. Luke’s Health System and other local providers continue to offer testing.

Greg Foley has the details.

• Blaine County updated its weekly COVID-19 transmission risk assessment today, once again calculating a “high” risk in the area. Blaine County’s positive test rate is 7.14%, with an average of 23.6 new cases per hypothetical 100,000 residents based on data from April 4-10.

View the assessment here.

• The Hailey City Council moved closer to reaching a consensus on garbage hauling rates and new recycling and composting options as the city nears renewing its 10-year franchise agreement with Clear Creek Disposal. After much discussion this week, a final decision has not yet been made.

Emily Jones has more on that here.

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

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