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

Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

One long-term care facility is the first of its kind in Idaho — it will care for only patients who have been exposed to COVID-19 or who have symptoms of coronavirus.


Chinook Salmon
Roger Tabor / USFWS Pacific

In March, Idaho Fish and Game projected the number of Chinook salmon would be well below normal in Idaho’s rivers this spring. Last week, the agency determined the returns of fish making their way from the ocean would be even lower than those predictions.




Being able to test everyone who needs it and alert contacts of positive coronavirus cases that they might've been exposed is key, as states begin to open up and people move around more, health officials say.


Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio

Twin Falls County saw its biggest increase in coronavirus cases during the week following Idaho's move to stage one of its reopening plan, according to Melody Bowyer, the director of the South Central Public Health District.


Alan Yoo / Flickr

In the next few weeks, tons of Idaho seniors will be cheered on online, at car parades, even on the big screen at drive-in movie theaters. These are just some of the creative ways schools are honoring the class of 2020 at a distance.


Wood River Fire and Rescue

At one point, Blaine County, home to Sun Valley, had the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases in the entire country. It required an all-hands-on deck response from first responders, many of whom didn’t get a break before wildfire season picked up in April. 



Screenshot by Boise State Public Radio

New data made available this week on the state's coronavirus website shows what public health officials have noted all over the country: Racial and ethnic minorities make up an outsized portion of COVID-19 cases and deaths. 




AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Edna McBride lived at the Life Care Center of Lewiston for about 10 years. She enjoyed gardening and daily afternoon walks. 


When people test positive for COVID-19, public health officials ask about their recent movements and with whom they've interacted. This process is called contact tracing, and its purpose is to learn about how the disease has spread in an area to prevent further transmission.


At the same time, scientists at research institutions are trying to answer these same questions about the outbreak by looking more closely at the virus itself. 


Janie Leigh of Nampa was feeling really sick last month. She had a dry cough and a fever. Her whole body ached, even her hair, she said. The illness lasted about two and a half weeks.


Idaho businesses have had to shut their doors and layoff employees during the coronavirus pandemic. And though it is a health crisis, many medical providers are struggling just the same.


Blaine county held its second town hall on the COVID-19 crisis Wednesday night. The community relies on tourism and as Rachel Cohen reports there’s a concern its recovery will be slow.


Sun Valley Institute

After a natural disaster strikes, groups like the Red Cross set up in tents or gyms where people affected can go to seek help.


Idaho Department of Health & Welfare

To make policy decisions related to COVID-19, Idaho relies, in part, on mathematical models developed by university professors.

Courtesy of South Central Public Health District

The South Central Public Health District released an epidemiological curve this week for Blaine County. It maps when people who've tested positive for coronavirus first started feeling sick.


AP Images

As local leaders weigh opening up the economy again, antibody tests for coronavirus are getting a lot of attention. That’s because they can detect whether someone has had the virus in the past, and may be okay to return to work, potentially without being contagious.



Blaine County's social distancing rules that go beyond the state's stay-at-home order were set to expire on Sunday. The restrictions say residents can’t travel outside the county to purchase items they could find in the county, hotels and short-term rentals can’t house visitors, and the construction industry is nonessential. So far, the county, Ketchum and Hailey extended these rules to the end of this week.


Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Doctors, public health workers and government officials are saying social distancing is working in Idaho, and the state is beginning to flatten the coronavirus curve.

Courtesy of St. Luke's Health System

Blaine County will participate in a clinical study to test a random sample of residents for the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies, the city of Ketchum announced Wednesday in a press release.

Courtesy of St. Luke’s Health System

Hospital officials in south central Idaho are cautiously optimistic about the coronavirus picture in the Magic Valley and Wood River Valley.


Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

If Idaho runs out of crucial supplies — like ventilators or intensive care units — to treat patients with coronavirus, hospitals and providers will need to make difficult decisions about how to prioritize care for certain people.


Courtesy of Charlotte Stevenson

Doctors and nurses are on the front lines of responding to the coronavirus in Idaho, and by default, their families are, too. Charlotte Stevenson, a freelance writer, is the spouse of an emergency room doctor in Ketchum. She shared how her family has been coping with the virus.

"I think there's definitely an element, always, of being the partner of an ER doctor where you've had to accept a different lifestyle and a different level of risk."

Brandeis Coshow

On the news, Brandeis Coshow had seen Italians singing in the streets and Chicagoans flashing their apartment lights to bring cheer during coronavirus isolation. When she heard Mill Valley, Calif. was gathering for nightly "howls" to bring the community together, she thought it was something that could work in Blaine County, where she lives.

Rachel Cohen / Boise State Public Radio

Last week, Blaine County Commissioners voted 2-1 on an ordinance to add local restrictions on top of the statewide stay-at-home order to further promote social distancing.


St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center

If a patient needed to be hospitalized for symptoms of coronavirus in the Wood River Valley today, they’d most likely be transported — by ambulance or helicopter — to a hospital in Twin Falls an hour and a half south, or one in Boise two and a half hours west.