Will healthcare workers who decline the vaccine be eligible for unemployment?

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports Protests continue in the lead-up to vaccination deadlines set by St. Luke’s, St. Alphonsus, and Primary Health, but if nothing changes between now and September, will employees who are fired for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine be eligible for unemployment benefits?  It depends, but it will likely be an uphillContinue reading “Will healthcare workers who decline the vaccine be eligible for unemployment?”

Oh, we’re back to this again: Test positivity climbs to 8 percent for first time since January

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports Idaho recorded 439 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the highest one-day total logged since March, and is nearing 200,000 total cases over the course of the pandemic.  The state’s positivity rate has climbed to 8 percent for the first time since January, and the number of confirmed cases with theContinue reading “Oh, we’re back to this again: Test positivity climbs to 8 percent for first time since January”

Idaho receiving $5.6 billion through ARPA. Now the hard work begins.

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports Idaho is anticipating $5.65 billion in direct payments, grants, and fiscal relief from the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law in March. Figuring out how to spend that money is shaping up to be a complex task, as lawmakers heard during the first meeting of the Interim Committee onContinue reading “Idaho receiving $5.6 billion through ARPA. Now the hard work begins.”

As Delta rises, state still not able to sequence most COVID positives for variants

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports As new cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions have nearly doubled in Idaho in the last few weeks, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is eyeing a rise in confirmed Delta variant cases. During a media call on Tuesday, state epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn said not all hospitals and labsContinue reading “As Delta rises, state still not able to sequence most COVID positives for variants”

Who’s in charge? In Idaho, it’s sometimes not clear.

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports During a Thursday press conference calling on the Idaho Legislature to reconvene and address employer vaccine policies, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin mentioned, to applause from supporters in the audience, she would be serving as acting governor “at some point today.” She was quick to add she wasn’t sure how longContinue reading “Who’s in charge? In Idaho, it’s sometimes not clear.”

Legislative Council hires Kondeff as new LSO director

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports The Legislative Council voted unanimously to hire Terri Kondeff as the new Legislative Services Office director. Kondeff, who served as the deputy director under retiring director Eric Milstead, interviewed for the position on Tuesday afternoon during the Legislative Council meeting. Prior to serving as deputy director, Kondeff was chief operationsContinue reading “Legislative Council hires Kondeff as new LSO director”

Legislature already bracing for redistricting legal challenges, hurried timeline

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports The state now has a timeline for redistricting, and is already bracing for legal challenges and a cramped schedule.  Idaho and other US states go through a redistricting process after the US Census every ten years to make sure legislative and congressional districts have roughly proportional populations. Changing the mapsContinue reading “Legislature already bracing for redistricting legal challenges, hurried timeline”

Some conservatives decry mandatory vaccinations for employees; Others point to at-will employment

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports Some conservatives are calling on the Idaho Legislature to reconvene in response to three of Idaho’s largest healthcare systems requiring their employees and contractors to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Thursday’s announcements from St. Alphonsus Health System, St. Luke’s Health System, and Primary Health Group prompted ire from a handful ofContinue reading “Some conservatives decry mandatory vaccinations for employees; Others point to at-will employment”

Idaho one step closer to receiving millions in opioid settlement funds

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced Thursday that Idaho expects to receive approximately $21.6 million as part of a proposed resolution of a multistate lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family over their role in the opioid epidemic. The proposal was submitted to federal bankruptcy court by a mediator onContinue reading “Idaho one step closer to receiving millions in opioid settlement funds”

Idaho’s rural counties see highest death rates, lowest vaccination rates

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports Idaho’s rural counties, some of which have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, are struggling to get vaccination rates up.  While half of Idaho adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the majority of Idaho’s counties have not hit that 50 percent threshold. Of Idaho’sContinue reading “Idaho’s rural counties see highest death rates, lowest vaccination rates”