Latest Idaho news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. MDT

By The Associated Press | Updated - May 22, 2020 at 9:20 p.m. | Posted - May 22, 2020 at 3:20 a.m.



VIRUS OUTBREAK-IDAHO

Little details goals to expand COVID-19 testing in Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little says ramping up COVID-19 testing and tracing is key to Idaho’s containment strategy and authorities hope be consistently testing 2% of the state’s population in the coming months. Little spoke Friday at a news conference where a task force released recommendations for expanding testing in the state. Among the goals are expanding testing across all populations, including symptomatic and asymptomatic people, and increasing spending on local testing capacity. The state has in the past weeks struggled to increase testing. Elke Shaw-Telloch, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare administrator for public health, said federal officials recommend testing 2% of the population each month

VIRUS OUTBREAK-FRUIT PLANT

24 workers at Vancouver fruit plant have coronavirus

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Two dozen employees at a Vancouver, Washington, food processing company have been sickened with the coronavirus. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports it may be the Portland area’s biggest workplace outbreak reported so far, excluding the health care sector. Firestone Pacific Foods CEO Josh Hinerfeld says the company had its first confirmed case Sunday and learned of two more later that afternoon. The Vancouver plant shut down Monday but the infection total has grown.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GASOLINE RULES

Rule allowing self-serve gasoline in Oregon ends Saturday

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The temporary rule change allowing self-serve gasoline in Oregon amid the coronavirus pandemic will end over the Memorial Day weekend. The Office of the State Fire Marshal says the rule ends at midnight Saturday. Starting Sunday, attendants will again provide service at gas stations in Oregon where self-service is not allowed. Self-service is allowed in some coastal counties and in eastern and central Oregon. The rule change was implemented to address worker shortages at gas stations statewide because of COVID-19.

TRANSGENDER INMATE-SURGERY LAWSUIT

Supreme Court won't put transgender inmate surgery on hold

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court won’t put an Idaho transgender inmate’s gender confirmation surgery on hold while a lawsuit over the procedure moves forward. Thursday's order means Adree Edmo can continue getting pre-surgical treatments and potentially even gender confirmation surgery while Idaho officials wait to hear if the high court will consider their appeal. Edmo has been housed in a men’s prison since 2012. She sued three years ago, contending prison officials’ refusal to provide her with gender confirmation surgery causes her severe harm. But attorneys for prison officials and Idaho Gov. Brad Little say the surgery isn't medically necessary and the state shouldn't have to provide it.

RADIOACTIVE WASTE-AQUIFER

Radioactive waste cleanup paying off for giant Idaho aquifer

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Scientists say radioactive and chemical contamination in a giant aquifer below an eastern Idaho federal nuclear facility has decreased or remained constant in recent years. A report released earlier this year by the U.S. Geological Survey attributes the decreases to radioactive decay, changes in waste-disposal methods, cleanup efforts and dilution from water coming into the Lake Erie-sized Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. The contamination originated at an 890-square-mile U.S. Department of Energy site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory. The report says contamination levels at all but a handful of nearly 180 wells are below acceptable standards for drinking water as set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

FOREST PROJECT-LAWSUIT

Lawsuit seeks to stop northern Idaho forest project

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Two environmental groups say an 18-square-mile forest project approved by the U.S. Forest Service in northern Idaho harms wildlife. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Clearwater filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to stop the Brebner Flat Project in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Forest Service officials say the project includes logging and other work needed to improve forest health and lessen the severity of a potential wildfire. The environmental groups say the Forest Service's analysis failed to include the potential effects on grizzly bears or a wild river corridor. The U.S. Department of Justice said it's reviewing the lawsuit and didn’t offer a comment.

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