New evidence showing the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and may be more dangerous than other versions has prompted U.S. health officials to consider changing advice on how the nation fights the coronavirus, internal documents show.

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Even with coronavirus vaccines readily available to all Idahoans, actives cases continue to occur, such as the three reported in Custer County on Monday and one in Butte County.

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Residents of Custer, Lemhi and Butte counties have slowed the pace at which they get vaccinated from the coronavirus and none of the counties has yet reached 40 percent full vaccination.

Idahoans can now test themselves for COVID-19 at home, with free test kits from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

As cases tumble and states reopen, the potential final stage in the U.S. campaign to vanquish COVID-19 is turning into a slog, with a worrisome variant gaining a bigger foothold and lotteries and other prizes failing to persuade some Americans to get vaccinated.

Rural health clinics in Idaho are slated to receive $4.4 million in federal funds to expand COVID-19 testing access, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday.

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Idaho seniors did not get vaccinated at rates as high as state officials had hoped, data shows.

With only a few more percentage points to go as of May 28, Custer County residents are nearly 40 percent fully vaccinated from the coronavirus, which is half of what health officials want to reach by September.

About 1.1 million coronavirus vaccine doses have bee administered in Idaho. More than half a million Idahoans have received both shots.

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State health officials want 80 percent of Idahoans vaccinated for the coronavirus by September, and so far Custer, Butte and Lemhi county residents have yet to reach the halfway point.

New budgets were set for public school teachers and for higher education last week, after the previous versions were voted down in the House.

In a sign that Idaho has more COVID-19 vaccines than residents who want them, state public health officials will no longer recommend that providers ask people to prove they live or work in-state to be inoculated.

The Idaho House rejected $40.3 million in federal COVID aid funds for voluntary COVID-19 testing in public and private schools next year, with opponents decrying testing as unneeded and one falsely claiming that children can’t carry the COVID-19 virus.


Every adult in Idaho is eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, but the number of adults who’ve received at least one dose in Idaho is barely more than halfway to the 80 percent benchmark experts say could pave a path for the virus to be under control. And that doesn’t include young children,…

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Custer County reached a COVID-19 vaccination rate of 32 percent April 26, which nearly matches the state’s rate of 32.8 percent for people who’ve received both their vaccines.


BOISE — Legislation that would have prevented government entities in Idaho from implementing mask mandates won't get a hearing in the Senate, the powerful chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee said Monday.

Eastern Idaho has seen a surge in coronavirus cases this spring, and Salmon River Clinic Physician Assistant Amy Klingler said there are two main factors that have caused that scenario.

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With vaccination clinics operating Mondays in Challis and Tuesdays in Mackay, an estimated 20 percent of county residents had been fully vaccinated for the coronavirus as of March 29.

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Although the coronavirus has weakened across Idaho and the United States, Physician Assistant Amy Klingler with the Salmon River Clinic in Stanley warned Stanley City Council members at their March 25 meeting the fight persists.

With the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Idaho, members of the Eastern Idaho Public Health Board decided last week to longer issue public health orders designed to slow the spread of the virus.

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Custer, Lemhi and Butte counties each had two active coronavirus cases at the end of the day Tuesday, according to data from regional health districts.

Stanley city officials let the COVID-19 health order that required face coverings in public and limited public gatherings to 10 people expire last week, replacing it with a resolution that strongly encourages the same measures.

Stanley School teacher Lisa Muscavage said she can’t speak for the other teachers and staff, but she’s personally joyed to have received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Eastern Idaho health officials last week removed mask mandates in Custer and Jefferson counties.


BOISE — Limited coronavirus vaccine availability, confusion over just which Idaho residents should be vaccinated first and rumors of line-jumpers are all complicating the state's vaccine rollout.

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A Custer County man in his 70s died from the coronavirus Thursday, the Eastern Idaho Public Health department reported Thursday evening.

Citing eastern Idaho’s dwindling coronavirus caseload, regional health officials voted Jan. 14 to repeal long-standing mask mandates in Custer, Lemhi and Fremont counties.

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As vaccines for the coronavirus spread around the state, six Custer County residents had been vaccinated by the end of the day Tuesday, Jan. 19, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

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The number of coronavirus cases and deaths reported in Idaho continues to grow.

Hospital representatives delivered a sigh of relief to eastern Idaho health officials on Dec. 17, saying that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to frontline health care workers boosted staff morale.

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Along with updating the list of symptoms in the Challis School District’s COVID-19 response plan, school board members chose to shorten the time students who test positive for the virus must quarantine from 14 days to 10.

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After a spike of 11 coronavirus cases in Stanley last month, Salmon River Clinic Physician Assistant Amy Klingler said she was happy to report the virus had been expelled from the small town. However, that’s the only good news she had to give to Stanley City Council members during their Dec.…

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A second Custer County resident has died from COVID-19, officials with Eastern Idaho Health reported Tuesday evening. 

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Four cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed within the Mackay School District as of Dec. 3, prompting district personnel to send multiple students home to learn.

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Idaho's death count from the coronavirus exceeded 1,000 when data was reported at the end of the day Thursday, Dec. 3, to stand at 1,014.

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BOISE (AP) — Idaho has reached an alarming milestone, with health officials reporting more than 100,000 residents have been infected with the coronavirus. At the end of the day Monday, the count stood at 101,698.

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With people making plans to travel for Thanksgiving despite the coronavirus pandemic, Mackay schools Superintendent Susan Buescher said her district is ready for the worst.

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Custer County was returned to the moderate-risk category for COVID-19, which means a face covering mandate is again in effect, after Eastern Idaho Public Health board members met Nov. 19.

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BOISE — Doctors serving Idaho and eastern Oregon spent hours last Tuesday trying to sway health districts, city leaders and the public to do more to stop the spread of coronavirus, warning that rationed care is looming in Idaho’s future.

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The death count from the coronavirus in Lemhi County increased to 7 at the end of the day Wednesday, Nov. 18.

As Custer County returned to the low-risk transmission level for the coronavirus, Mackay school board members considered requiring face masks in the low, green level of their response plan.

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Group gatherings are limited to 10 people and face coverings are required in Stanley under an emergency powers ordinance and disaster declaration resolution approved by the City Council Nov. 12.

Daybell Disappearance

Angie Dodge archive

Getting the film footage documenting the 850-mile migration of salmon from the Oregon coast to central Idaho looked to be in serious jeopardy after Kris Millgate nearly destroyed her main camera 200 miles into the trip.

Jessica Sheehan Zettel of Challis placed fourth in the women's 108K race in the June 19 River of No Return Endurance Runs with a time of 17:05:01. She was the only Challis resident to complete the 67-mile race.

Every record previously set in the River of No Return Endurance Runs in both women’s and men’s divisions were broken last weekend, with the first two men in the 108K race beating the previous best time.

More steelhead have returned to the Lochsa River in Idaho so far this year than the past three years on average, which Fish and Game Biologist Marika Dobos said is an encouraging example for the state.

A sportsman visited the Salmon Fish and Game office in late May with a video and still photographs he wanted the local biologists to see. He thought he had images of a grizzly bear in an area they normally aren’t seen: In Idaho just southeast of Salmon.

With the penalty for using coach-style travel buses causing the Challis School District to lose between $53,000 and $68,000 a year for three years now, Transportation Director Blain Aldous said it might be time to switch to a fleet of yellow buses only.

For $95,000 a year, plus a mileage reimbursement when she uses her auto to conduct official school business outside the district, Lani Rembelski will continue to work as the Challis schools superintendent and elementary school principal.

Mackay Principal Stephanie Green said it was fitting the senior class of 2021 chose “We Made It” as their graduation quote, considering everything they had to go through to get to the May 17 ceremony.

Temperature checks will no longer be required and face coverings are just recommended in the Mackay School District after board members approved changes to their COVID-19 response plan at their May 10 meeting.

Masks and hand sanitizer will be available at the Challis High School graduation ceremony, scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, May 23 in the gym. No COVID-19 restrictions will be in place.

Gyer and Latimer plan weddingJason Gyer and Brenda Gyer and Kathleen Latimer and the late E.L. Latimer announce the engagement of Taylor Gyer and Kaleb Latimer.

Challis grad completes trainingPvt. Erik Rose completed U.S. Army advanced infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia, on Jan. 22.

Blood drives set in SalmonPeople have the opportunity to donate blood at two blood drives in Salmon next week.

Sorority selects valentine queenPeggy Redick of Challis has been chosen the 2021 valentine queen for the Beta Phi Sorority.