The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 508 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 161,720. Of those, an estimated 80,252 have recovered.
The state reported another seven coronavirus-related deaths today, raising the death toll to 1,721.
Blaine County gained another 12 confirmed and four probable cases today, raising local totals to 1,746 confirmed and 178 probable. Based on the most recent data available, the South Central Public Health District continues to monitor 409 cases in Blaine County.
To date, 19,024 Idahoans have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine. A further 70,316 have received only one shot and are awaiting their booster.
Read on for news of BCSD students heading back to the classroom, an executive order to increase vaccinations, mountain lion and avalanche danger in the area, and more top news from Thursday, Jan. 28.
• The Blaine County School District Board of Trustees voted Wednesday night to increase in-person learning among elementary school students starting Feb. 8. Those students will attend class fully in-person four days a week districtwide. The board has not made a determination on older students.
• Blaine County ranked at “critical” risk of COVID-19 transmission on its own assessment model today. With a seven day average case rate of 82.5 per hypothetical 100,000 residents, the assessment noted, “This is one of the worst case rates Blaine County has seen since spring. The impact is increasing on the local hospital and is expected to increase next week.”
View the risk assessment here, and read more about it in Friday's issue of the Express.
• Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order today aimed at speeding up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the state. Under the order, health districts and care providers must submit more detailed reporting on doses received, doses in stock and shots administered. The goal is to ensure doses are administered with seven days of arriving in Idaho.
• The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said mountain lion activity in the Wood River Valley may increase amid recent heavy snowfall. Officials have detailed what to do if you happen upon a cougar in the wild.
• In light of all the snow, the Sawtooth Avalanche Center issued an avalanche warning today for the Soldier Mountains, Wood River Valley, Galena Summit and the Sawtooth and Western Smoky Mountains. SAC indicated high avalanche danger for the area with more than two feet of snow accumulating atop a weak snowpack. Both human-triggered and natural avalanches are likely, according to the Center.
• A section of Warm Springs Road past Board Ranch is currently closed following an avalanche in the area. The Blaine County Sheriff’s office confirmed just after 4 p.m. that the road is closed from the point where the pavement ends onward. At that time, no injuries or structure damages had been reported.
For more local and regional news, pick up a free copy tomorrow’s Idaho Mountain Express newspaper, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.