coronavirus

Amid the economic downturn, Idaho and Utah have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

Extremism experts say a fast-growing network of far-right activists could threaten the Mountain West and beyond. It’s called the People’s Rights network and, according to a new report, it includes anti-maskers, militia members and conspiracy theorists.


Tedweverka via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

For the first time in nearly 50 years, there will be no winter lodging at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.

Campaigning in a normal election year can be difficult even for the most seasoned politicians. But campaigning during a pandemic adds a host of new challenges. The biggest might be how does a candidate connect with voters safely.

Ivinson Memorial Hospital

Albany County is currently experiencing a surge in confirmed, active coronavirus cases. And one measure of the virus' spread - available intensive care unit beds - is in flux.

Public Domain

As COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations surge in our state, some public health officers are worried that some individuals who tested positive are not adhering to health safety guidelines and potentially threatening the more vulnerable populations in the state.

HollyHarry / Shutterstock


Here's a scenario you may have found yourself in recently: You open up Facebook or Twitter, and someone you know is posting about a conspiracy theory. You wonder, Do I say something? Is there any convincing them otherwise?

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

At the start of the pandemic, the CEO of St. John's Hospital in Jackson had a big concern. The hospital runs a Senior Living Center and Paul Beaupre feared an outbreak.

David Jones

At the start of the semester, the University of Wyoming decided to proceed with a hybrid of online and in-person classes. The plan was that everybody who works on campus was tested before the semester started and no students were allowed on campus until they passed an initial test. The other part of the plan is randomized testing of students and staff now that they're on campus. If there's an outbreak, classes could be pushed to online immediately.

Raif via Flickr

A record 44 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 in the state as of Tuesday, October 6. State officials and health experts have concerns about the pressure this could put Wyoming's small hospitals.

Wyoming PBS

Gov. Mark Gordon said the number of new COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations in the state is very concerning. He addressed the rising metrics during a press conference on Monday.

Updated at 8:18 p.m. ET

President Trump walked out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday evening, planning on receiving the remainder of his treatment for COVID-19 at the White House.

He was seen pumping his fist in the air on the way out of the building and didn't respond to any questions from the press. Upon arriving back at the White House, Trump walked up the staircase of the South Portico entrance, removed his mask, gave reporters standing below a thumbs-up and saluted Marine One.

Alexis Barney/Natrona County School District

Alexis Barney teaches fourth and fifth grade at Evansville Elementary School in Casper. And this year, the Wyoming Department of Education has announced Barney is the state's 2021 teacher of the year. Barney said she's humbled to receive the award and views it as a privilege to represent the state's teachers. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with Barney about how she has been focusing on her students' mental health, especially since the pandemic.

The Tri-County Health Department in Colorado is a marriage between three counties. But after 55 years together, the pandemic has them on the brink of divorce.

The relationship started with a devastating flood. Lora Thomas remembers it vividly.

“I remember sitting on Ruby Hill in Denver watching this wall of water coming down the Platte River,” said Thomas. “There were actually horses in that water that had come from a racetrack.”

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At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Mark Gordon appointed a coronavirus task force. He's since broadened its focus to the cost of healthcare in our state. 

Made up of 40 different stakeholders, including representatives from the state Department of Family Services and the Board of Pharmacy, the goal of the group is to decrease healthcare costs in the state. The governor's health and human service policy advisor Jen Davis said past governors have created a similar task force in the past with no results. 

Feeding

When the pandemic hit the Laramie community, food banks saw an increase in visitors. To continue to support those facing economic hardships this fall, Feeding Laramie Valley implemented the Kids Home For Dinner program to provide kids with two homemade meals for the weekend. 

Winter is coming, and COVID-19 is still here. That means socializing is about to get harder as temperatures drop and activities move indoors.

One potential tactic is to form something called a “social bubble,” also known as a “pandemic pod” or a “quaranteam.” The gist is to join forces with another family, or small group of people, and socialize exclusively with them while maintaining a safe distance from others.

For months it appeared that the Mountain West had COVID-19 somewhat under control. But now the positivity rate is skyrocketing in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Utah.

"I feel despair," says Christine Porter, an associate professor of public health at the University of Wyoming.

Antigen testing is expected to become a more common way to test for COVID-19. It looks for the virus’ surface coating, rather than pieces of its genetic material. It’s faster and easier to administer than other tests.


When Joyce Farbe saw how many cars were parked at the Iron Creek Trailhead when she pulled in, she knew it would be a busy day. It was a warm, late summer morning, and her destination – Sawtooth Lake – is one of the most popular day hikes in Central Idaho. Cars were spilling out of the parking lot and lined the dirt road for a quarter mile. Farbe tightened her boot laces and pulled her backpack onto her shoulders. Before she could get going, her work began: She approached two men as they printed their name on a wilderness permit at the trailhead. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming Cowboy football team is back on the practice field after the Mountain West Conference announced that an eight-game season will begin on October 24.

WYO Film Festival

As statewide public health orders aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus are being lifted over time, more public events are resuming. Many film festivals around the world have had to cancel or change their formats to limit risks. But for the WYO Film Festival in Sheridan, the shows will go on in-person, with some modifications. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with the festival's director Justin Stroup.

Shirley Ann Higuchi

Nestled in between Cody and Powell in northwest Wyoming, the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center tells the story of over 10,000 Japanese-Americans who were held in the internment camp against their will during World War II. It turns out, the museum wouldn't exist if it weren't for the formerly incarcerated and their children's' dedication.

Chair of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation Shirley Ann Higuchi just released her new book Setsuko's Secret, which tells these stories. To start, Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska asked Higuchi how she learned about her parents' time at Heart Mountain.

University of Wyoming

The coronavirus pandemic has been particularly disruptive for musicians. Some solo performers and small ensembles have figured out creative ways to keep performing, but for symphony orchestras, which can have upwards of 80 players on stage, the problem of safe performances is especially complex. As he explained to Wyoming Public Radio's Micah Schweizer, figuring out a way forward has been occupying University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra conductor Michael Griffith's time. The Symphony has its first fall concert scheduled for October 1.

Despite a record high number of 941 active COVID-19 cases in Wyoming as of Thursday, Gov. Mark Gordon announced in a press conference that there would be no new public health orders.

Could Japan Offer Lessons For Mountain West Contact Tracers?

Sep 24, 2020

Over the past few months, a number of Japanese health officials have praised their country’s contact tracing approach, saying it’s one of the “secrets” to their early success in containing COVID-19.

Care19

Wyoming has a new contact tracing smartphone app available to residents. The Care19 Alert app is potentially a more popular, more private version of an earlier state-endorsed app: Care19 Diary.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow along on social media, an online blog and this "Where Is He Now?" map.

Arek Socha

A new survey finds that alcohol consumption in Wyoming has increased during the pandemic.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow along on social media, an online blog and this "Where Is He Now?" map.

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