Sunday, April 18, 2021
Volunteers Fight COVID War as Blaine County Risk Remains High
James Bourret continues to wear a mask inside his Mountain Images Gallery in Ketchum per local mandates as he shows off his new Pioneer Cabin T-shirt.
Friday, March 12, 2021



Dozens of Blaine County residents have volunteered with various COVID-19 vaccine clinics, eager to be part of the war on COVID.

Some have traveled as far away as Shoshone and Fairfield to help with the effort.

Idaho reported 364 new cases of virus on Thursday for a total of 174,610. Fourteen more Idahoans have lost their lives to COVID in the past two days for a total of 1,906. Blaine County has gained seven new cases in the past two days for a total of 2,201.

Two Sun Valley residents have gone even further.

Jamie and Andrea Lieberman drove 645 miles to Seattle where Jamie, a retired Seattle anesthesiologist, helped dispense 3,000 vaccine shots. Andrea volunteered in the parking lot, assisting people with walkers and crutches as they excitedly made their way to their shots.

“Everyone was so happy to be getting them,” said Jamie, who plans to return later to help with another clinic. “For them, it was like getting a shot of life in the arm.”

In Blaine County, 6,495 of the county’s 23,000 residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. Blaine County is not, however, doing as well as officials would like when it comes to taming COVID.

The county remained in the high-risk tier for COVID spread this week, according to Harvard Global Health metrics.

The county averaged 18.0 new cases per 100,000 hypothetical residents between Feb. 28 and March 6, up from 15.5 the week before.

Its test positivity is 5.89 percent—just above the 5 percent threshold that health officials strive for and down slightly from 6 percent the week before.

South Central Public Health District continues to investigate an active outbreak at a long-term care facility and a cluster at a local school.

Eight people between the ages of 30 and 39 tested positive; six between 50 and 59 and four between 18 and 29.

Three between the ages of 60 and 69 and 40 and 49 tested positive, as did two in the 70-plus bracket and one each in the 14-17, 11-13 and 0-4 age groups. The 5- to 10-year-olds came up clean.

The amount of COVID-19 detected in Boise’s wastewater has doubled since Feb. 22, portending that a surge could be coming. The wastewater comes from Boise, Garden City and Eagle.

Health officials hope that vaccinations will help mitigate the damage a surge could do. To date 295,208 Idahoans have received vaccine and 175,439 are fully vaccinated. More than 181,000 Idahoans aged 60 and older have been vaccinated. And there has been a dramatic decrease in deaths and hospitalizations across the country since those in nursing homes began getting vaccines.

Those 55 and older will become eligible for the vaccine March 15, along with essential workers not included in earlier groups.

Residents are being urged to sign up on the state pre-registration form at even if they don’t qualify yet for a dose so they are ready when their priority group opens. Those who need help signing up can call 208-737-1138.

“This is a great opportunity for residents to fill out the form now so they don’t have to worry about following each step of the vaccination process. Signing up early means that as soon as that person qualifies for vaccine, a provider has the opportunity to schedule them,” said Logan Hudson, of South Central Public Health District.

 South Central Public Health District will continue to work through its internal waitlist to provide vaccine for those over age 65 first, before scheduling appointments for those 55 and older and the other essential workers.

 The Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee will discuss the next groups being vaccinated between noon and 1 p.m. today via Webex. The meeting is open to the public in listen/watch-only mode at


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