Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Shelves Run Bare, More Sun Valley Events Cancelled as Idaho Notches First Coronavirus Case
Atkinsons Market was running low on toilet paper Friday but a few rolls still remained—perhaps, Twin Falls residents should come to Sun Valley to shop!
Saturday, March 14, 2020


The one thing the coronavirus does not typically cause is diarrhea.

But that hasn’t stopped panicked shoppers from stocking up on toilet paper.

In Idaho, which reported its first case of coronavirus on Friday, the number of shoppers besieging stores like Costco and WinCo in Twin Falls on Friday morning exceeded the crowds at Thanksgiving and Christmas, some employees said.

This picture shows a line at WinCo extending from the meat counter in the back to the cash registers up front.

And things weren’t much better in the Wood River Valley. Atkinsons Market had a few rolls of toilet paper left by 1 p.m., but the shelves at Albertsons were empty.

“Sales picked up a little earlier in the week, but it really jumped on Thursday after the President’s address to the nation,” said one employee. “Thursdays are usually slow days and sales were really up yesterday.”

A reporter for Eye on Sun Valley snapped a photo of WinCo shoppers standing in line from the cash register clear to the meat aisle at the back of the store Friday morning. But, said one WinCo clerk, “It’s worse at Costco.”

A Costco representative said that the store was experiencing its largest shopper count in the history of the store due to the coronavirus. It started Monday and intensified throughout the week.

This sign sums up the toilet paper situation at Costco on Friday.

Asked about toilet paper, a Costco employee in the administrative office abruptly replied, “We have no toilet paper.”

The store had ordered some, she added, but it was diverted to other stores that were considered more needy. “Maybe we had some when the pallets were diverted,” she added, trying to explain why those stores might have been considered more needy when the Twin Falls store did not have any, either.

An employee for Atkinsons said they had ordered a ton of toilet paper but got only one pallet containing about 50 packages containing nine rolls to a package. Store buyers were working to get anything they could get their hands on, he said.

Shoppers were also loading up on cleaning supplies and sanitary wipes here. Nationwide, some people have been selling bottles of hand sanitizer for $50 each as cleaning supplies become scarce.

The Charmin’ was gone at Albertsons on Friday. But both Albertsons and Atkinsons have plenty of food on the shelves.

One valley store posted a notice that the store would be unable to accept returns for items not used after the crisis.


Idaho was one of just three states without a confirmed case of coronavirus until Friday afternoon. That's when officials confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the Gem State. The woman, in her 50s, had traveled from her Ada County home to a conference in New York in late February and early March. She received testing after learning of others at the conference who had the virus. She has very mild symptoms and did not need to be hospitalized. She is isolating herself at home as she recovers.


Trucks line up in Pennsylvania outside the Proctor & Gamble plant on Thursday awaiting toilet paper orders. PHOTO: Twisted Truckers

Tonight's Rosanne Cash at The Argyros was scratched Friday night and tentatively rescheduled for a date in October. The Argyros will process refunds at 208-726-7872 or boxoffice@theargyros.org.

* The Sun Valley Museum of Art announced on Friday that it was cancelling concerts, classes and other public gatherings organized through the SVMoA and Company of Fools through Saturday, April 18.

That includes We Banjo 3 scheduled next week and, presumably, the annual Fools Day Celebration on April 1. Those who have tickets to events between now and April 18 should contact the museum after March 16 for a refund.

The museum will stay open “as a place of refuge, contemplation and joy,” said Christine Davis-Jeffers, the museum’s executive director. It’s currently closed as a new installation is being hung. But visitors  are invited to visit the new exhibition, “Free Play,” when it opens Friday, March 20.

  • Ketchum’s Community Library cancelled several upcoming lectures on Friday, said Program Director Martha Williams. They include a “Conversation About Mozambique” on March 18, the Wood River Land Trust’s “Preventing the Devastating Impacts of Growth” on March 19, “Our Gorongosa” film screening on March 20, “Sawtooths on My Mind” film screening on March 22, “Skis in the Art of War” on March 25 and “American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God & Public Lands in the West” on March 26.
  • The Wood River Orchestra is canceling its Spring Concert on April 26 because of the difficulty of getting orchestra members together to practice in the weeks leading up to the concert.


    In the midst of all the cancellations the Advocates offered a bright spot, announcing that tickets are now on sale for the 2020 Black & White Soiree to be held Friday, June 26, at the Trail Creek Pavilion. (Call 208-788-4191 or visit www.theadvocates.sorg.org)

  • Whiskey Jacques announced that it will have free entry for the Colorado band Envy Alo tonight before canceling all live band performances until May.
  • The Ice Dance International announced that it is still weighing whether it will continue with its performance at Sun Valley since the event would be held at the outdoor ice rink. It has, however, canceled appearances in Boise, Aspen and Park City.
  • And the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame announced it is working with Sun Valley Resort to reschedule the event at a later date in 2020.


    The Hunger Coalition called for volunteers on Thursday to fill in for volunteers who are at greater risk of COVID-19

  • Meanwhile Mountain Humane is issuing a call for volunteers to help at both the animal welfare campus and The Barkin’ thrift store.

    Volunteers are needed to walk dogs, socialize cats, wash dishes, do laundry and other general cleaning at the animal campus, said Senior Director Kelly Mitchell. Volunteers are needed to wash laundry and receive and sort donations at The Barkin’.

    “With all the time that has been freed from events being cancelled, we hope people might have time to do a little volunteering,” said Mitchell. “We’re following all the protocols to keep our buildings clean. And, we may have the cleanest air in the valley at Mountain Humane since the air gets turned over 14 times an hour.”

    “We also want people to remember we can always use pet food and donations,” she added.


    St. Luke’s is now doing pre-visit telephone screenings for signs of a respiratory illness prior to patients’ visits. Questions include:

  • Do you currently have a cough, runny nose or shortness of breath?
  • In the past 24 hours have you had a fever?
  • Has anyone in your household been ill?
  • Have you traveled outside of Idaho in the last 30 days?

A yes to any question will result in a review, with a possible change of plans regarding the appointment.

St. Luke’s is also temporarily allowing one visitor to accompany a patient into the care facility. That visitor must be over 14 years of age and willing to be screened for signs of respiratory illness prior to appointments.


Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed an emergency declaration on Friday, just ahead of President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency.

Idaho’s declaration will make funds available for the Emergency Disaster Fund. It also activates the Idaho Emergency Operations Plan, which expedites Idaho’s ability to get respirators. It also expedites  the renewal of nursing licenses.

The state hopes that more people can get tested now that there are four private labs working with the Idaho State Laboratory to test people for the coronavirus.  As of Friday morning, 131 people have been tested. No one has tested positive for the virus in Idaho yet.

Meanwhile President Trump declared a state of emergency, as well. Trump said the declaration would free nearly $50 billion for state and local governments to combat the virus. So far, there are more than 1,200 COVID-19 cases in the United States with at least 40 deaths.


With everything put on hold across the country, it might seem that camping might be a perfect way to hang out with plenty of social distancing. But, whoa, Nellie! Eye on Sun Valley reader Lisa Cesari points out that New Mexico State Parks are suspending overnight camping in response to the coronavirus through April 9.


Officials say the United States might have nipped this in the bud had the government responded at the beginning with adequate tests and protocols. And they offer some chilling statistics about how many people could contract it if we don't address it properly. But, they say, 80 percent of those who get it will experience only mild symptoms.

NAMI Director Christina Cernansky sent out a reminder that, while the fatality rate of COVID-19 so far is 2 percent, it’s lower than SARS, which had a fatality rate of 10 percent, or MERS, which had a fatality rate of 30 percent.

More than 80 percent of coronavirus cases are mild.

The influenza claims between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That’s out of 9 million to 45 million illnesses a year.

In 2017, it should be noted, nearly 40,000 Americans died from a fall in the home.


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