Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Sen. Michelle Stennett, Others Want to Postpone Legislative Session
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Some of those who saw The Incredibles hop on the chairlift Saturday morning thought it was a salute to health care professionals. Or, a Janss Pro Am team that missed its chance to ski in costume during last year’s shortened ski season. Instead, it was Jamie and Andrea Lieberman and their friends Muffy Ritz and Lucy Bourret who surprised Julia Lieberman on her 22nd birthday.
   
Thursday, December 17, 2020
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

COVID GRAPHS BY PAUL RIES

Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett and House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel are requesting the legislative session set to begin on Jan. 11 be postponed until April 5, or until those Idahoans who so desire have had an opportunity to be vaccinated.

Then, they said, legislators can do the necessary work at “a vastly reduced risk.”

 
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Idaho reported 1,433 new cases of COVID on Wednesday for a total 125,452. Seventeen more Idahoans have died bringing the toll to 1,231 deaths. The good news: 119 Idahoans have now been vaccinated.
 

“Last Wednesday alone, more Americans died of COVID-19 than died on 9/11, D-Day or in the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and hospitalization, infection and death rates are only climbing,” they wrote. “In Idaho, our hospitals and intensive care units are at dangerous occupancy levels, and we are hurtling toward the dreaded crisis standards of care where healthcare will for the first time in our lifetimes be rationed in Idaho. Under such extraordinary circumstances, the leaders of our state should be setting an example to reduce transmission, not exacerbate it.”

Proceeding indoors, in-person, and with no masking or distancing requirements in a few weeks flies in the face of all public health guidance, sets the worst possible example and would likely contribute substantially to community transmission at a time when healthcare facilities can least afford to be further inundated, they said.

Neighboring states have opted to postpone their sessions, hold virtual sessions or to require masks and social distancing for in-person sessions, they added.

“We are not aware of any other state that plans to move forward with legislative proceedings as if there is no pandemic,” they said. “We urge you not to distinguish Idaho as the most reckless legislature in America.”

 
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Blaine County announced only five new cases on Wednesday for a total of 1,499. Is the Thanksgiving surge coming to an end?
 

Stennett and Rubel said the Republican leadership has denied previous requests for mask requirements or virtual proceedings.

The two noted that vaccines will likely not be fully deployed and available in Idaho until late March at the earliest: “Why subject legislators, their families, staff, journalists and the public to a highly dangerous environment when we can do all the necessary work a few months later at a vastly reduced risk once vaccines have been made widely available?”

The two Democratic legislators aren’t alone. Idaho Gov. Brad Little told Idaho Education News last week that legislators should delay the upcoming session or go virtual because of rising coronavirus cases and deaths.

Idaho is tenth in the nation for new cases per capita with one in every 173 Idahoans testing positive this past week.

Little also is considering revising the way he delivers his annual State of the State address since typically all three branches of government cram into House chambers to listen to it.

“(The Statehouse) is a pretty good petri dish for transmissible moments of COVID,” he said.

LAST DAY TO APPLY FOR FREE MONEY

Today is the last day to apply for the City of Hailey’s grant program for small businesses and nonprofits. The program utilizes $200,000 from the city’s CARES ACT funds. Grants up to $10,000 are being offered  to help Hailey businesses that were affected by the pandemic.

To apply go to https://haileycityhall.org/documents/SmallBusinessGrantApplicationFinal1.pdf. Call City Administrator Heather Dawson at 208-788-9814, extension 1518, or email heather.dawson@haileycityhall.org for more information.

STANDING UP FOR MASKS

A group that calls itself “The 97%” is taking a stand among those who have been protesting proposals to tamp down the COVID spread. The group supports such measures as wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands.

The group has started a petition calling on the state to do more, rather than pass the buck to local jurisdictions.

The 97% rose up following a protest organized by Ammon Bundy outside the offices of Central District Health as board members debated measures to counter COVID. Idaho received widespread national embarrassing publicity after board member Diana Lachiondo left the meeting in tears because her 12- and 8-year-old sons were home alone while protesters were banging on the door. A video posted on social media shows protesters blasting air horns, playing clips from “Scarface” and banging on buckets.

 Happily, students at Capital High School in Boise are writing letters thanking people in the community for making a positive impact this year. And they’ve papered Boise Mayor Lauren McLean and Lachiondo with paper hearts of support.

DISCARDING THE MASK?

Dr. Anthony Fauci told a video conference at a Center for Strategic and International Studies this week that we may be able to throw our face masks away come late fall. Some areas will be able to ditch them before others.

ANOTHER REASON TO WEAR MASKS?

Face masks may help stave off coronavirus and other viruses by creating a humidifier effect in cold, dry air, according to an article in National Geographic. That means they may work similarly to home humidifiers, which target viral-containing particles dropping them to the floor after they become heavy with water.

Cold and low humidity dries out mucus layers, disrupting the movement of the cilia. And that makes it harder for the body to kick out invaders. Low temperatures and low humidity allow viruses to stay  stable and infectious longer.

In this environment, the airways produce fewer interferon molecules that call on immune cells to stop a cold in progress.

One infectious disease immunologist at Yale University said she has been telling her children to wear a scarf around their noses ever since a study documenting this effect was published in 2015 because scarves allow temperatures to remain warmer in the nose.


 

 

 

~  Today's Topics ~


Vaccines Already Appear to Be Having a Positive Effect

Rep. Muffy Davis Says She Still Feels Unsafe as Legislature Announces a Case of COVID

Mountain Rides Seeks Imput Concerning Pilot Bus Service to Twin Falls
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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