Sunday, March 7, 2021
Vaccinations Will Go On Despite Rain or Snow
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Lee Dabney, children’s librarian at The Community Library, recently created a panda mask to go along with her Panda Picture Book Story Time.
   
Saturday, February 20, 2021
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

GRAPH BY PAUL RIES

Don’t fret if you have missed or will miss a COVID-19 vaccine appointment due to the wild winter weather that hit most of the United States this week.

Chances are good that you’ll be able to get it next week.

 
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Blaine County reported just one new case of coronavirus on Friday—the first time it’s done that since Dec. 29, according to Paul Ries. The county’s total is now 2,136. The county’s seven-day average is now 4.9. The state reported 314 new cases for 168,953. Idaho’s death toll from coronavirus remains at 1,826.
 

Some providers in South-Central Idaho have had to postpone appointments after vaccine doses failed to be shipped on time due to the mix of ice and snow that swept through the country this past week.

South Central Public Health District has not had to postpone vaccinations yet but may have to if it doesn’t receive the vaccine soon. As of Friday morning, its vaccine doses for this week still hadn’t been shipped, said Brianna Bodily, public information officer for the district.

“When those doses are finally shipped, they should be in addition to next week's doses,” she said. “We shouldn't lose doses because of the weather; they are only postponed. Most of our local providers have told us they have the capacity to administer far more doses than we can provide to them, so we are hopeful this delay will lead to a very busy week that catches everyone back up.”

 St. Luke’s officials began searching for available doses from other providers as soon as they realized wintry weather in other parts of the country were delaying shipments to Idaho.

Primary Health Medical Group in the Treasure Valley lent St. Luke’s 1,400 Moderna vaccines for those planning to get their booster shots this weekend. St. Luke’s plans to return the doses when their awaited shipment arrives.

Winter weather delayed the delivery of more than six million COVID-19 vaccine doses—about a three-day supply. The White House announced Friday afternoon that 1.4 million doses hit the road Friday and the rest of the doses will be delivered within the next several days.

Roads around Moderna vaccine’s packaging plant have been cleared for the workforce to leave their homes, and they will work through Sunday to package backlogged orders and put vaccines and other supplies on aircraft Sunday night for Monday-through-Wednesday delivery.

Meanwhile, Pfizer announced Friday that its vaccine can be stored in ordinary freezers, rather than the ultra-cold freezers it has been relegated to. Officials also say the vaccine is 85 percent protective two to four weeks after the first dose.

To date 205,152 Idahoans have received at least one dose of vaccine and 80,389 have received both. In Blaine County 4,716 have received one dose and 1,337 have received both.

MASK MANDATE LIFTED

The Central District Health Board, which oversees the Boise, Mountain Home and McCall areas, has voted unanimously to lift COVID-19-related health orders despite concerns over a new, deadlier strain of the virus which has now been identified in Idaho.

Ada County had required masks and social distancing in public, while limiting the sizes of public gatherings. The board still “strongly recommends” residents keep following those practices.

The Valley County order had mandated masks in public places and schools.

The test positivity, which measures the prevalence of virus in the area, has dropped below 5 percent. Health officials say most infections involve contact with an infected family member or fellow work employees who are going to work sick. Small gatherings and school sports are also leading to infections.

SENIOR CENTER REOPENS

The Twin Falls Senior Center will reopen on March 1, nearly a year after the pandemic closed it on March 12, 2020. Only 50 people will be allowed to share lunch in person each day because of Idaho’s Stage 3 restrictions.

The number of meals the center delivered through its Meals on Wheels program grew to 250 each day—below the 400 or so Blaine County’s Senior Connection was dishing out in the early stages of the pandemic.

HOSPITAL VISITATIONS ALLOWED

St. Luke’s Magic Valley is now permitting non-COVID patients to have one visitor a day as the number of new COVID cases in the area drops. COVID patients are still not allowed visitors.

VACCINES BECOME MARKETING TOOL

Some senior living centers across the nation are now luring prospective residents with the promise of a vaccine, according to Kaiser Health News.

Oakmont Senior Living, which has 34 locations in California and other states, is among those with such advertisements as: “Reserve your apartment home now to schedule your Vaccine Clinic appointment.”

IDAHO COVID-19 VACCINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE SENDS NEW RECOMMENDATIONS TO GOVERNOR

The committee made several recommendations for clarifications to Group 2 on Friday:

  • CVAC voted against including instructors for CPR, AED, and basic life support in Group 2.1.
  • CVAC voted against including Red Cross Emergency Operations Center workers in Group 2.1.
  • CVAC voted to recommend Social Security administration staff who are unable to telework and are serving vulnerable populations be included in Group 2.1.
  • CVAC voted against including plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters in Group 2.3.
  • CVAC voted to clarify that janitorial and cleaning staff should be included in the sector in which they work.

Also, between this meeting and the previous one, CVAC made the following recommendations:

  • CVAC voted against including faculty and staff who provide face-to-face services at post-secondary settings as well as public library workers in Group 2.1.
  • CVAC voted against including Bureau of Reclamation dam workers, “on-site” apartment staff, Airbnb hosts, hotel workers, and media covering the legislative session in person and other “frontline” reporters in Group 2.3.
  • CVAC voted to include flight crews in Group 2.3.

 

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