Snow Shoveling Ketchum

From left, George Cevallos, Carmen Cevallos and Alfredo Graciano got to work on Saturday clearing the last big snowfall. The forecast calls for more snow overnight Wednesday.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 1,340 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 139,864, of which health officials continue to monitor an estimated 80,691 active cases. With that, more than 27 percent of Idaho’s total case count since March came in December.

Coronavirus is considered a contributing factor in the deaths of 1,403 Idahoans, 10 more than yesterday.

Locally, Blaine County gained 14 new confirmed cases of the virus, according to the state, raising local totals to 1,441 confirmed and 116 probable. Based on the most recent available data, the South Central Public Health District is monitoring 164 active cases in Blaine County.

Statewide, 13,686 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Idaho so far.

Read on for news of Blaine County’s COVID-19 risk, the ITD’s plans for road improvements and more news from Wednesday, Dec. 30.

• Though the Blaine County COVID-19 infection rate has dropped recently, it has not yet fallen enough to move the area out of the “critical” transmission risk level—the most severe designation on its risk assessment scale. Vaccines have started arriving in the valley, but won’t be widely available for several more months at least. Meanwhile, medical professionals are urging continued caution.

• The Idaho Transportation Department has developed a plan to conduct several major roadway improvements in Blaine County, to be rolled out through 2027. These include several projects to improve infrastructure along state Highway 75–namely, repaving it along its run as Main Street through Hailey.

• After 52 years working as a practitioner of family medicine, beloved Ketchum physician Dr. Nancy Parry retired earlier this year. On Dec. 20, "Doc" celebrated her 80th birthday, and caught up with the Mountain Express to reflect on a storied career spanning more than half a century.

• The Idaho Mountain Express’ Year in Review will be published on Friday. If you haven’t gotten enough of 2020 yet, take a look at our Year in Pictures photo gallery as a prelude to the full retrospective in the Friday paper. The images highlight some of the year’s biggest stories, including COVID-19, the March earthquake, wildfires, the election and more.

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

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