Sheep Mask Hailey

A bit snowy from the recent weather, the sheep statue on Main Street in Hailey still adorns a face mask—a reminder to residents of the city's health ordinance.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 1,091 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 152,364. Of those, officials are still monitoring an estimated 82,143 active cases.

The department considers the coronavirus a contributing factor in the deaths of 1,564 Idahoans—eight more than yesterday.

Blaine County gained 16 more confirmed and four more probable cases today, according to the state, raising local totals to 1,518 confirmed and 140 probable since the pandemic began. Today's rise is the largest single-day increase for Blaine County in over a month. Based on the most recent data available, the South Central Public Health District is monitoring 228 active cases in Blaine County.

So far, 35,296 Idahoans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Of those, 7,280 have received both doses. Three hundred and thirty-six Blaine County residents have received the shot, according to the Department of Health and Welfare.

Keep reading for updates on vaccination priorities in Idaho, the governor's State of the State address, a proposed new campground in Hailey, and more top news from Wednesday, Jan. 13.

• With vaccine clinics opening up in the Wood River Valley this week, St. Luke’s Health System and the South Central Public Health District were planning to begin inoculating the top priority tier of Idahoans. After a surprising announcement from the Governor’s Office yesterday, though, about 500,000 more state residents have just been bumped up the queue. Now, non-medical essential workers—such as police, firefighters and teachers—are eligible. Adults 65 and older will follow soon. 

• Even as vaccination efforts ramp up statewide, the Health District has been battling “conspiracy theories” and ethical objections to the vaccines. Throughout Idaho, many people in high-risk categories have declined the vaccine. A representative from the Health District said misinformation is largely to blame.

• Gov. Brad Little made his annual State of the State address on Monday, outlining his expectations and priorities for the coming year. Among the biggest news items to emerge from the speech was his proposed budget for fiscal year 2022, which includes $455 million in tax relief.

• The Hailey City Council and mayor have given the nod to a $500,000 grant application to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation for what could evolve into a campground out Croy Canyon. If approved, the campground would be Hailey’s first.

• The Sun Valley City Council green-lit plans to subdivide and build 49 townhouse units in Elkhorn Village's “Sunshine Parcel.” The plan has met with some opposition from Elkhorn residents, and will require approval from the Architectural Design Committee of the Sun Valley Elkhorn Association.

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

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