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
Judge told vacate or explain order nixing virus restrictions
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court is giving a rural judge until Tuesday to toss out his ruling that found the governor's coronavirus restrictions are invalid. If Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff declines to vacate the order, he must explain why. He must also give the state and churches who sued over the stay-at-home directives an opportunity to make further arguments. Shirtcliff ruled that Gov. Kate Brown exceeded her authority when she shut down in-person religious services. He said she should have sought the Legislature’s approval to extend the stay-at-home orders beyond a 28-day limit.
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 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.
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