Sunday, April 18, 2021
Blaine County’s COVID Rates Climb, COVID Vaccines for Dogs
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Elk graze in sight of Sun Valley’s fast disappearing snow, oblivious to the pandemic taking place around them. PHOTO: Loren Wood
   
Friday, April 2, 2021
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTO BY LOREN WOOD

GRAPH BY PAUL RIES

After two weeks in the moderate zone, Blaine County’s risk for COVID spread is trending up.

 
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Idaho reported 361 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday for a total 180,897 cases. One more Idahoan has died of COVID bringing the toll to 1,963. Two more Blaine County residents tested positive on Thursday for a total 2,268.
 

The county’s risk level is again high, according to the Harvard Global Health Institute’s calculations.

The county averaged 16.8 new cases per 100,000 residents during the week from March 21-27. That’s up from 11.8 new cases per hypothetical 100,000 residents the week before and up from 6.8 the week before that.

Its test positivity is 8.58 percent. The test positivity was 4.45 percent last week and 1.95 the week before.

Fortunately, COVID has had minimal impact on St. Luke’s Wood River, but hospitalizations are rising elsewhere in Idaho. Currently, 174 Idahoans are hospitalized with COVID—the most since Feb. 14. Forty-six are in the ICU—the highest since Feb 1.

Nine people between the ages of 40 and 49 tested positive this past week, along with seven between 30 and 39 and four between 18 and 29. Three people between 60 and 69 tested positive and two each between 50 and 59, 5 and 10 and 0 to 4. There was one positive case between 14 and 17 and zero among those 70 and older and 11 through 13.

The entire state of Idaho is seeing rising numbers, perhaps due in part to COVID variants. In fact, the  City of Boise has reissued a mask mandate and other restrictions because wastewater shows increasing COVID.

Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort has closed for three weeks to help tamp down the spread of coronavirus in British Columbia. The Canadian province has enacted its strictest restrictions yet to address record-breaking case counts driven by more transmissible coronavirus variants.

That includes prohibiting dine-in service, indoor gym activities and worship services.

The ski resort has seen clusters of cases, especially among staff who live in congregate housing.

VACCINES AT WORK

New cases of COVID have plummeted 96 percent in nursing homes after vaccinations, according to a American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.

Cases have gone from 33,540 on Dec. 20 to 1,349 on March 7, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. There also has been a 91 percent decline in COVID-related deaths in nursing homes, from 6,000 plus in December to 547 this month.

New coronavirus cases are down more than 90 percent at Idaho’s long-term care facilities.

REACHING HERD IMMUNITY

More than a third of American adults had received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine as of this weekend. If the U.S. continues to administer an average of 2.68 million doses per day it could reach the 70 percent to 90 percent necessary for herd immunity by mid-July, estimates the New York Times.

Twenty-one percent of Idahoans have been fully vaccinated and 32.5 percent have received at least one dose. To date, 68 percent of those 65 and over have been vaccinated. By the numbers, 455,999 people have received at least one dose and 291,285 are fully vaccinated

More than 50 percent of Blaine County is now vaccinated..

All Idahoans 16 and older are now eligible to receive vaccines.

VACCINES FOR FIDO

Russia has authorized the first coronavirus vaccine for pets. The vaccine, called Carnivak-Cov, has been tested on dogs, cats, mink, foxes and other animals. And all developed antibodies to the coronavirus, according to Agence France-Presse.

VACCINES FOR BABIES

New research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that COVID-19 vaccines not only protect pregnant women but likely provide protection for their babies, as well.

VACCINES FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

Rutgers University in New Jersey has announced that it will require its 71,000 students to receive the COVID-19 vaccination before they arrive on campus this fall. Vaccinations will play a key role in providing safety and returning operations to pre-pandemic normal, officials said.

New Jersey currently has the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases per capita in the country, which officials believe is likely due to more contagious variants.

PROTECT YOUR VACCINATION CARD

Staples, Office Depot, and OfficeMax are offering free vaccine card lamination to keep your card looking good. Lyft and Uber are offering free rides to vaccine appointments.

Some restaurants and—yes, even pot dispensaries—are offering free deals, as well. Among them, DC Marijuana Justice, which is giving out bags of pot outside vaccination centers in a program called Joints for Jabs.

Some firms are not only giving employees time off to receive vaccines but offering bonuses to those who get vaccinated. Bolthouse Farms, which sells a grocery line of smoothie drinks is paying $500 to employees who get the shot.

Target is paying workers $30 in transportation costs. And Kroger is offering $100 to those who are vaccinated, along with staff who refuses to take the shot for medical or religious reasons as long as they take a health education class.

Conversely, a New Jersey gym owner is giving free memberships to those who don’t get vaccinated. The gym has racked up $1.2 million in fines for staying open in violation of COVID-19 regulations.


 


 

 

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