Coronavirus

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Eastern Idaho Public Health officials tracked three new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Custer County last week, more than doubling the count to five.

For many states and counties in the U.S., the dark days of the coronavirus pandemic in April unfolded on their television screens, not on their doorsteps. But now, some places that appeared to have avoided the worst are seeing surges of infections, as worries shift from major cities to rural areas.

Two former residents of Diamond Peak Health Care in Challis claim during the coronavirus lockdown, staff at the facility didn’t follow physical distancing and sanitation standards, failed to adhere to state health codes and mistreated residents.

Challis students and teachers are hoping they can return to their classrooms in the fall, but the superintendent said that will come with strings attached.

Idaho outfitters and guides have received guidance about what to tell their guests and how to plan trips as the state emerges from the coronavirus lockdown.

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The number of people in East Idaho who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus has increased in the last couple of weeks because ill people are attending gatherings where people are failing to observe recommended health and safety protocols, according to Mimi Taylor, public information office…

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After much deliberation, organizer Paul Lind canceled the June 20 River of No Return Endurance Run, citing concerns of spreading the coronavirus.

BOISE — Self-employed residents will be able to tap into the $300 million in grant money Idaho has set aside to help small businesses financially harmed by the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Brad Little announced last week.

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The 10th installment of the Spank Martiny Memorial Broncs and Bulls, set for June 6, has been canceled amid coronavirus concerns.

Several business owners in Challis, Mackay, Clayton and Salmon said they are trying to remain positive, but the economic toll of the coronavirus has dampened their spirits.

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Operations at the Lost Rivers Medical Center sites in Mackay and Arco should slowly return to normal in the next few week, CEO Brad Huerta said.

Idahoans filed 7,495 new unemployment insurance claims between April 26 and May 2 due to the coronavirus, bringing the seven-week total to 125,306.

BOISE — A plan to reopen Idaho during the coronavirus pandemic hinges on understanding what the state and individuals have to do to defeat the illness, the co-chairman of Gov. Brad Little’s COVID-19 testing task force said.

Airports in Salmon, Challis and Arco collectively received $70,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration last month to continue operations, maintain facilities and pay employees and utilities amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Challis church organizers had varied responses to Gov. Brad Little’s decision to end the statewide lock-down stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, with some trying to return things to as close as normal as possible.

For 15 straight years, dozens of cool cars, classic pickups and unique rides landed in Challis in early June at the Challis Classy Chassis car show and hundreds of people have checked them out each year.

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Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association representatives last week told Custer County commissioners they are trying to balance concerns for the coronavirus with the needs of Idaho’s tourism industry for the coming summer.

The cancellation period for float permits on the Main Salmon and Middle Fork Salmon rivers has been extended until May 15, Salmon-Challis Forest officials said last week, because of continued coronavirus concerns.

All national forest lands in Idaho have a 10-person group size limit for outdoor recreation, following an April 29 directive from the Forest Service’s Intermountain Region office.

Developed campgrounds and most recreation sites within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area are closed until June 5, according to Julie Thomas with the Sawtooth National Forest.

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With nine seniors graduating this year, Mackay schools Superintendent Susan Buescher said there is a possibility Mackay families might get a graduation ceremony that complies with social distancing guidelines.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down most social activities in Challis, but Corey Rice, president of the Challis golf board, said golfing is still acceptable, with some adjustments.

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BOISE — Idaho Gov. Brad Little last week announced a plan for restoring normal activity in Idaho and recovering from the economic pain caused by the coronavirus, but warned the process will take time and will be based on declining infections and strong testing.

Challis High School seniors will graduate as planned on May 17, but social distancing rules and lingering coronavirus concerns will make celebrating their achievements challenging.

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Challis school district students won’t see the inside of a school building until fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. School board members agreed to continue remote online education for the rest of the year and end the year as planned on May 21. Board members discussed conducting school…

BOISE — To save lives and reduce the spread of COVID-19, people are being told to remain isolated. But in a wildfire, thousands of firefighters must work in close quarters for weeks at a time.

Adult steelhead will still spawn at the Pahsimeroi and Stanley fish hatcheries this spring, but the fish won’t be given away as has occurred in past years.

Challis students received instructional packets last week that detailed what learning will be like for them as their schools remain closed till at least April 20 due to the coronavirus.

The Challis Public Library will be closed for the remainder of Gov. Brad Little’s stay-home order and is no longer offering curbside pick up, according to Library Director Becky Mitchell.

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Challis Mayor Mike Barrett chose to follow Gov. Brad Little’s lead and will keep City Hall closed till at least April 15, meaning future public meetings, including the April 9 council meeting, will occur by some form of telecommunication.

BOISE — Nearly 33,000 Idaho residents filed for unemployment benefits the last week of March as the Idaho economy continues shedding jobs at a record rate because of the coronavirus.

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BOISE — Idaho officials on Monday extended the statewide school closure through the end of the academic year or until social distancing requirements stemming from the coronavirus are lifted.

Camping at all Idaho state parks was halted March 27 in keeping with Gov. Brad Little’s stay-at-home order.

Coronavirus concerns prompted the March 25 closure of Gold Bug Hot Springs by Salmon-Challis Forest officials.

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To keep Challis students fed and healthy while school is canceled because of the coronavirus, Challis school district employees are distributing free lunches and breakfasts to children 18 and younger at a drive-up option at the Challis Elementary School.

Stanley city officials took steps March 26 toward obtaining assistance for various losses associated with the coronavirus.

Float permits on the Salmon River and Middle Salmon that had already been issued through April 15 were canceled March 27, according to Amy Baumer, public affairs officer with the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

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As Custer County elected officials take steps to ensure the safety of county employees and to comply with directives from the governor and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare because of COVID-19, people will need to schedule appointments to take care of some county business.

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Now that Forest Service workers have acquired the necessary amount of personal protective gear and cleaning materials, they will gradually reopen 26 campgrounds in the Sawtooth National Forest by Memorial Day weekend.

Forest Service staff will reopen parts of the Salmon-Challis National Forest on May 16 with new rules in effect, stemming from the coronavirus.

As summer comes and the state slowly reopens, many Idahoans are looking for ways to get outside, and Idaho Fish and Game workers suggest they go fishing.

In a 2-1 decision, Custer County commissioners voted to allow camping at the North Custer Rodeo Grounds May 22 and 23 if rodeo participants follow physical distancing guidelines.

Because Challis students still aren’t allowed to congregate in large groups, Challis schools Superintendent Lani Rembelski said the end-of-the-year awards ceremony was postponed and will be held in the fall.

If remote schooling continues for the fall semester, Challis schools Food Service Director Sara Jones said her staff will be ready with hot meals for students, no matter how far they live from Challis.

Mackay High School’s nine graduating seniors will receive recognition for their achievements Saturday, June 27. A 2 p.m. commencement ceremony on the football field is planned.

Seniors graduating from Salmon High School have to wait until June 5 for their commencement ceremony, but Superintendent Chris Born thinks it will be worth the wait.

Jodie D. Gadwa Callison of Stanley has completed the doctor of dental medicine degree at the College of Dental Medicine-Arizona of Midwestern University.