South Central Public Health Bellevue

Local COVID-19 case totals are continuing to climb, with Blaine County gaining more than 200 new cases since New Year's Day. Meanwhile, the state is ramping up vaccination efforts, though the demand is greater than the supply.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 810 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total since last March to 157,588. Of those, health officials continue to monitor an estimated 82,436 active cases.

The state coronavirus death toll appears to have decreased by two since yesterday, though the reason for this is unclear. To date, the Department of Health and Welfare considers COVID-19 a contributing factor in the deaths of 1,635 Idahoans.

Blaine County gained 30 confirmed and two probable cases of COVID-19 today, according to the state, raising local totals to 1,624 confirmed and 160 probable. Today’s increase is the largest in a single day for Blaine County since Nov. 18. The county has gained 222 cases so far this year. Based on the most recent data available, the South Central Public Health District is monitoring 311 active cases in Blaine County.

To date, 11,778 people have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine statewide, and a further 49,555 people have received one dose and are awaiting their second.

Keep reading for updates on vaccination rollout, the Legislature striking down Rep. Muffy Davis’ request for COVID-19 accommodations, the debate over rezoning Sun Valley’s Prospector Hill, and more top news from Wednesday, Jan. 20.

• COVID-19 vaccination rates in Idaho have increased, but the demand for vaccines is exceeding the supply at this time. As such, Idaho’s infection rate will likely not be noticeably affected for some time, but fewer health-care workers will be getting sick and hospital capacity should be less strained as a result.

Greg Foley has more here.

• Idaho lawmakers voted down a motion made by Rep. Muffy Davis, D-Ketchum, to allow legislators at greater risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19 to work remotely during the legislative session. The vote ran along party lines, with all Democrats supporting Davis and all Republicans voting against.

Gretel Kauffman reports.

• The Blaine County School District Board of Trustees will meet Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. to select the district’s next superintendent.

Click here for details.

• The Sun Valley City Council will hold a public hearing Thursday to consider a proposed rezone of 75 acres of open land immediately east of the Dollar Mountain ski area. A group called Protect Prospector Hill has mounted fierce opposition to the proposal, declaring the application “procedurally defective” and amounting to “illegal spot zoning.”

Read more here.

• A group of environmental and fishing organizations represented by environmental law firm Earthjustice will head back to court over the latest plan for hydropower operations on the Snake and Columbia rivers, having filed a new lawsuit on Tuesday. The group cites 14 dams and reservoirs in the system as having decimated the salmon and steelhead populations, and claim current plans to release more water in the spring will do little to restore numbers.

Greg Moore has the details.

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

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