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Ketchum Rescinds Mask Mandate for Fully Vaccinated
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Wednesday, May 19, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

GRAPH BY PAUL RIES

The City of Ketchum has become the third city in the Wood River Valley to rescind a health order requiring masks to be worn indoors.

Mayor Neil Bradshaw weighed in, breaking a 2-2 tie in the City Council Monday night. Councilman Jim Slanetz and Councilwoman Amanda Breen voted to rescind the order, while Council President Courtney Hamilton and Councilman Michael David voted against the motion.

The move also rescinds regulations requiring social distancing and capping group sizes.

Hailey Mayor Martha Burke rescinded her city’s health order requiring masks indoors on Friday after the Centers for Disease Control presented new guidelines saying that fully vaccinated individuals could go maskless indoors and outdoors, with the exception of hospitals, trains, planes and buses and a few other scenarios.

Those who are unvaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors and outdoors when they are within six feet of others since they are still at risk of contracting COVID and spreading it to others, CDC officials say.

And, on Tuesday, business seemed to carry on as usual for many local businesses, including Albertsons where everyone entered wore masks in adherence to the supermarket chain’s policy.

The City of Sun Valley dropped its order requiring masks indoors on Monday, noting that 116 percent of its residents are vaccinated and that the county’s case rate has dropped to the low end of the moderate risk tier.

The county will review whether to keep a county-wide mask order in effect on Thursday.

Countywide 77 percent have been vaccinated—24 percent more than Valley County, the runner-up, and 25 percent more than Ada County, the other leading county.

The City of Ketchum shows that 152.1 percent of its population is vaccinated.

But only 63.5 percent of Hailey’s 9,452 residents are vaccinated; 47.7 percent of Bellevue’s 3,361 residents are vaccinated and 35.6 percent of Carey’s 870 residents are vaccinated.

Brianna Bodily explained that South Central Public Health District counts vaccination rates based on the  address people use at their vaccine appointment. So, the fact that more than a hundred percent of Sun Valley and Ketchum residents are vaccinated can likely be attributed to second homeowners or even long-term visitors to the area getting vaccines and reporting a Sun Valley or Ketchum address.

“Unlike COVID cases, we don't investigate those addresses. So, whatever someone leaves on their medical form is counted in the vaccine percentages,” said Bodily, public information officer for SCPHD. 

 “Our disease investigations are set up to only follow residents,” she added. “This is an agreement between all of our U.S. states to prevent a duplication of efforts, losing a case, or over/under counting cases. We don't do this with vaccine rates because there is no need for an investigation.” 

 The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) statue does not prohibit businesses from asking people about their vaccination status. It’s designed to prohibit health professionals, such as doctors, from sharing a patient’s health information without permission.

ST. LUKE'S WOOD RIVER TO OFFER PFIZER VACCINES

St. Luke's Wood River will begin  administering Pfizer vaccines in its Hailey clinic on Monday. That's good news for local teenagers as those 16 and younger can avail themselves only of the Pfizer vaccine for the time being.

 

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