Rachel Cohen

Reporter, South Central Idaho

Rachel Cohen joined Boise State Public Radio in 2019 as a Report for America corps member. She is the station's Twin Falls-based reporter, covering the Magic Valley and the Wood River Valley.

Rachel began her journalism career working at a local newspaper in Vermont. She interned on NPR's Science Desk in Washington, D.C., where she reported on food and health, and has most recently worked at New Hampshire Public Radio as a producer for All Things Considered. In New Hampshire, Rachel also contributed to coverage of state politics and the early days of the 2020 presidential primary.

She is a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, and enjoys spending her weekends in the mountains.

Ways to Connect

Madeleine Bumstead, Southern Idaho Economic Development

By the end of the year, more people in Idaho will have access to broadband, thanks to the state’s nearly $50 million investment during the pandemic.

St. Luke's Health System

Idaho’s Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee approved funds Wednesday morning to pay for extra contract nurses and respiratory therapists.

The South Central Public Health District board voted down a mask mandate for the Magic Valley counties during a Thursday meeting. It marks the second time in two months the health board has taken action against a policy that local doctors and hospital leaders are calling for.

St. Luke's Health System

As Idaho’s hospitals treat record numbers of COVID-19 patients, their models suggest the next few months could look even more daunting.

 

Joshua Wells / Sun Valley Resort

If the busier than expected summer season taught mountain towns anything, it’s that people are soaking up every opportunity to be outside during the pandemic. And now, recreation destinations are planning for that trend to continue this winter.

 

 


 

Drew Nash Times-News/Magicvalley.com

The Twin Falls City Council abruptly reversed course Monday, voting to indefinitely table a discussion on a face mask mandate after nearly four hours of heated testimony.

 

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

More than 1,000 positive cases have been reported in the South Central Public Health District during most weeks in the past month, but case investigators have only been able to reach about 300 of them.

 

 

Thomas Hawk/Flickr Creative Commons

Part of Blaine County, home to the Sun Valley Resort, is in an “extreme” drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The area has experienced some level of drought consistently since February.

 

ERIC GAY / AP IMAGES

Medical providers who sit on the committee that wrote Idaho’s framework to ration medical care if it becomes necessary are asking Gov. Brad Little for a statewide mask mandate. 

City of Twin Falls

Twin Falls could have a mask mandate as early as next week. On Monday night, the Twin Falls City Council voted 5-2 to direct city staff to draft an ordinance requiring face masks in public. It will receive an official vote during next Monday's council meeting. 

 

 


Minidoka Memorial Hospital

Minidoka Memorial is a 17-bed county-owned hospital in Rupert, along the Snake River Plain. Emergency physician Dr. David Wageman took his shift there last week.

 

Jyoni Tetsurō Shuler and Blake Hunter are collecting stories about LGBTQIA+ individuals in Idaho. It’s a project for the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, partially inspired in response to anti-trans bills signed into law this year in Idaho.

St. Luke's Health System

Health leaders in Idaho say if hospital capacity continues to decline, the state may need to activate its “crisis standards of care” plan to ration care.

 

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Last week, as part of an effort to reduce elk numbers in the Magic Valley, Idaho Fish and Game employees wrangled cow and calf elk into livestock trailers in south central Idaho’s Camas Prairie to transport them to west central Idaho.

 

St. Luke's Health System

Each time a new shift begins at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center, there are as many as 15 fewer nurses working than normal. Right now, it’s typical that they’re more than four nurses short.

 

St. Luke's Magic Valley

During the South Central Public Health District board meeting on Wednesday, trustees in the Magic Valley heard updates from hospitals, which are under great stress as they're running out of beds and staff to take care of patients. The trustees voted against an order for mandatory face masks, but passed a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people indoors.


COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Magic Valley are at the highest level of the pandemic so far. Like Gov. Brad Little, local leaders there are promoting personal responsibility to slow infections, but they’re also acknowledging residents aren’t always following through.

 

 

 

St. Luke's Magic Valley

Hospitals in the Magic Valley and eastern Idaho are filling up due to an influx of COVID-19 patients in the past couple weeks.

BIONICTEACHING / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

A new report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force is calling on some Idaho school districts to stop in-person learning due to high positivity rates among school-age children.

 

Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Last week, Idaho’s public health districts received funds to put toward testing school teachers and staff for COVID-19, which were earmarked by Gov. Little in July. But one health district is rejecting the state’s money. 


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