Penny Hill Sledding

Children took advantage of weekend snowfall on Sun Valley's Penny Hill the day after Christmas, making the most of their time off before heading back to school next week.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 1,514 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total since March to 138,524. Of those, state health officials continue to monitor an estimated 80,332 active cases.

Coronavirus is considered a contributing factor in the deaths of 1,393 Idahoans, 16 more than yesterday.

Blaine County gained one case over night, raising local totals to 1,427 confirmed and 116 probable. Based on the most recent available data, the South Central Public Health District is monitoring 166 active cases in Blaine County.

11,729 doses of the vaccine have been administered in the state as of this morning, according to the health department.

Read on for the state’s estimated vaccine distribution timeline, proposed changes to hunting rules, and more top news from Tuesday, Dec. 29.

• The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare released a new timeline yesterday estimating when the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to different groups. Currently, medical professionals (including dentists and pharmacists) and residents of long-term care facilities are being prioritized. The department anticipates essential workers—such as teachers, police officers and grocery store employees—as well as adults over the age of 75, will become eligible to receive their first dose in February.

• The Idaho Department of Fish and Game recently introduced proposals to expand moose and mountain goat hunting in several Game Management Units, as long as populations remain healthy. The department also said bighorn sheep hunts will still be permitted in certain areas, although herds are declining.

• Idaho State Police had no new updates to offer as they continue their investigation into the deaths of Bellevue residents Ashley Midby and Jared Murphy, who died in an apparent murder-suicide in October.

• A short-term ordinance drafted to protect historical structures in central Ketchum has gained approval from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and will now be considered by the City Council.

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