St. Thomas Outdoor Christmas

Despite the unusual and challenging circumstances, people around the world found creative ways to celebrate Christmas. Here in the Wood River Valley, St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sun Valley held its Christmas Eve service outside with social distancing and masks.

Since the last Roundup was published on Dec. 23, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 3,025 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide, including 795 today. Of the 137,010 total cases recorded by the state, officials continue to monitor an estimated 79,674 active cases.

Coronavirus is considered a contributing factor in the deaths of 1,377 Idahoans. The Department of Health and Welfare added 53 deaths to the total since Wednesday, including 23 today.

Blaine County gained four cases since Dec. 23, including one today, according to the state, leaving local totals at 1,426 confirmed and 116 probable. Based on the most recent available data, the South Central Public Health District is monitoring 171 active cases in Blaine County.

So far, 10,459 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the state, 3,921 more than had been on Dec. 23.

Keep reading for more on local vaccine administration, mask orders in the state, avalanche danger and more top news for the weekend leading up to Monday, Dec. 28.

• Doctors and nurses at St. Luke’s Wood River received their first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine last week, becoming the first locals to be administered the vaccine.

“It’s a feeling of elation that we’re finally in the pathway of getting through this pandemic,” said Dr. Deb Robertson after receiving her shot. “It gives me a sense of hope.”

• Gov. Brad Little reiterated last week that he has no intention of issuing a statewide mask order, believing the decision should fall to local governments and regional health districts. With the South Central Public Health District and most of its counties opting against such a mandate, Blaine County leaders feel the Wood River Valley is something of an island.

• Avalanche danger remains “considerable,” according to the Sawtooth Avalanche Center, especially following some unexpected Christmas snowfall. On Saturday, skiers caused two slides around Galena Summit. In one, an “experienced backcountry skier” triggered an avalanche on a slope adjacent to Titus Ridge. He reached the bottom by the time the slide hit him, though it buried him up to his waist. No injuries were reported.

• The Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission advanced a Marriott-affiliated hotel project slated for Main Street, recommending that the City Council approve plans for the 136,000-square-foot project.

For more local and regional news, visit mtexpress.com at any time, and pick up a copy of Wednesday’s Idaho Mountain Express.

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