Slow It Down Ketchum Winter Main

Without most of its usual New Year's Eve celebrations, Ketchum will quietly bid farewell to a trying 2020, as its "Slow it Down" banner continues to welcome visitors over Main Street.

On the final day of the year, the state Department of Health and Welfare confirmed that another Blaine County resident has died of COVID-19. Blaine County’s 13th coronavirus-related death was its sixth this month. No further details are available at this time.

The state also reported three new confirmed and two new probable cases in Blaine County today, leaving the local total at 1,444 confirmed and 118 probable. Based on the most recent available data, the South Central Public Health District is monitoring 160 active cases in Blaine County.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 1,213 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the 2020 total to 141,077. Of those, the state continues to monitor an estimated 80,992 active cases.

Idaho gained 39,379 cases of coronavirus in December, meaning nearly 28 percent of the state’s total COVID-19 case count came in the final month of the year.

Today’s 33 new COVID-19-related deaths statewide brought Idaho’s death toll to 1,436. The largest single-day increase to the death toll was 35, reported on Nov. 17. Five hundred and seven Idahoans died of coronavirus-related illness in December—35 percent of the year’s total.

So far, 15,780 doses of vaccine have been administered statewide.

Keep reading for more on regional COVID-19 risk assessments, avalanche danger, our Year in Review section and more news from Thursday, Dec. 31.

• The South Central Public Health District updated its biweekly COVID-19 transmission risk assessment today, ending the year with some positive news. Recently, all of the district’s eight counties—Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls—were in the red, or “critical” designation, the most severe on the scale. As of today, the Health District considers none of its counties “critical.” Cassia, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls have all been downgraded to a “high” risk. Blaine and Gooding are considered at “moderate,” and Camas County has a “minimal” risk, according to the Health District.

Blaine County’s independent risk assessment echoes the Health District’s, listing the county as yellow, or “moderate.”

• After recently reporting “high” and “considerable” avalanche risk in the region, the Sawtooth Avalanche Center has downgraded its forecast to “moderate.” Backcountry skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers and other recreationists should still take care before venturing into the wilderness this weekend, and heed SAC’s “know before you go" mantra.

• If anyone out there isn’t quite ready to bid farewell to 2020, check out our Year in Review section, coming out tomorrow. We got the jump on a few things yesterday and today.

Pick up a copy of tomorrow’s paper for the full Year in Review, or read it all online at mtexpress.com.

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