Moscow Mayor Bill Lambert expressed his support of Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s efforts to protect Idahoans and the economy “from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic” in a letter addressed to the Republican governor Tuesday.
“Your commitment to following the recommendations of scientists and health care professionals has been heartening and reassuring to me and my fellow Idahoans,” Lambert wrote. “It is equally disheartening and disappointing that certain of our fellow elected officials in the Idaho Legislature have chosen to oppose common sense by politicizing Idaho’s response to the pandemic.”
Lambert wrote that he shared Little’s frustration as the mayor watched Little’s news conference Friday.
Little ripped state lawmakers for jeopardizing efforts to fight the coronavirus and called on residents to contact their senators and representatives as they push legislation aiming to strip away some of his authority during a crisis like the pandemic, according to the Associated Press. The AP reported that Little said the GOP-led Legislature is perpetuating false information and trying to score political points rather than help fight the pandemic. Little said vaccinations are being put at risk.
Lawmakers have put forward legislation to curb the governor’s authority. Some of it is aimed at immediately ending Little’s coronavirus emergency declaration, which has been in effect since March.
Lambert wrote that the Legislature is not only threatening residents’ health but also jeopardizing Idaho’s access to federal aid in meeting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I appreciated your strong no-nonsense assessment of the danger of those legislative efforts to Idaho’s pandemic response,” Lambert wrote. “The position of certain members of the legislature to place political gain above the common good of our state is hard for me to accept. It is impossible to legislate your way out of a pandemic; the only remedy is a measured response which follows the best scientific and medical direction. You have done just that, and Idaho is better for your strong leadership.”
In Latah County, Public Health – Idaho North Central District reported eight new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, pushing the total in the county to 2,447 (2,321 confirmed and 126 probable cases).
Of the 2,447 cases, 2,136 recovered from the virus, 305 cases are active and six have died from the virus.
Of the eight new cases, three each are in the 5-12 and 18-29 age ranges, one woman is in her 50s and one man is in his 70s.
In Whitman County, six new positive COVID-19 cases were reported Tuesday, bringing the county total to 3,124, according to a Whitman County Public Health news release. Thirty-eight people have died from the virus and 82 have been hospitalized since the pandemic started. All other infected people are stable and self-isolating.
Of the six new cases, one female is younger than 20 years old, three people are 20-39, one man is 40-59 and one woman is 60-79.
The WCPH news release said Washington is in Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Residents can assess their eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine using Phase Finder at FindYourPhaseWA.org.
If eligible, residents can print or take a screenshot of their eligibility certificate. Eligible individuals will then be redirected to a new page with information on how to register for local vaccine clinics. Those not currently eligible to receive vaccinations can sign-up for an automated notification when they become eligible.
Pullman Regional Hospital, Whitman Hospital, Palouse Medical, Sid’s Pharmacy and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories are the Whitman County locations with vaccines, according to Interim Whitman County Public Health Director Chris Skidmore. Safeway in Pullman is also listed as a location on the Washington Department of Health website.
The vaccine is available in Washington to anyone 65 and older, and all people 50 and older who also live in a multigenerational household.
In Idaho, healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities started getting vaccinated first in December. First responders, preschool and K-12 teachers and staff, child care staff and correctional and detention facility staff can get vaccinated now and Idahoans 65 and older can get vaccinated starting in early February, according to Idaho’s COVID-19 website.
When the vaccine is available to residents’ priority group, Idahoans will be able to get the vaccine through normal vaccination locations such as their employer, physician’s office, local public health district or local pharmacy.