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AM News Brief: Falling Gas Prices, Grand Canyon Closes & Call For Inmate Release

Photo of a gas pump.
KUER File Photo
The average price of gas in Utah on Wednesday was just $2.30 — a nearly 12% drop compared to last month. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.";

Thursday morning, April 2, 2020

State

Current COVID-19 Cases

There are over 1,000 COVID-19 cases in Utah as of Wednesday. That represents a 14% increase, according to the Utah Department of Health. Of the 1,012 positives, seven people have died and 91 have been admitted to the hospital. More than 20,000 tests have been administered. Nearly half the cases are in Salt Lake County. One-fifth are in Summit County.

Davis County residents are now under a mandatory stay-at-home order issued by the county health department. Executive Director Brian Hatch says any gathering place that draws groups is closed, including Lagoon Amusement Park, tattoo parlors, pools, bowling alleys, gyms, spas, hair salons and playgrounds. As of Wednesday, Davis County reported 93 COVID-19 cases and two deaths. — Diane Maggipinto

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

ACLU Calls For Inmates Release

The ACLU of Utah, along with the Disability Law Center and the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, filed a Petition for Extraordinary Relief Wednesday with the Utah Supreme Court demanding that state correctional facilities release more inmates to protect them from a potential COVID-19 outbreak. Utah State Prisons, as well as a number of county jails, have already released or plan on releasing inmates nearing the end of their sentences. But the groups said more should be let go in order to free up as much space as possible. The groups are asking for the release of all pretrial detainees, inmates with 180 days or fewer to serve on a sentence and all individuals that are at high-risk for serious complications from contracting COVID-19. — Jon Reed

Gubernatorial Candidate Jeff Burningham Picks Running Mate

Republican candidate for governor Jeff Burningham announced his running mate will be state senator Dan McCay. McCay has been in the state legislature since 2013, and during this year’s session sponsored a successful bill to ban all elective abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Burningham says he picked McCay because he’s one of the state’s most conservative lawmakers, understands the legislative process and “can help pass an agenda that gets Utah back on track.” — Sonja Hutson

Gas Prices Fall

The average price of gas in Utah on Wednesday was just $2.30 — a nearly 12% drop compared to last month. In areas like Provo, Ogden and Salt Lake City some places were selling gas at less than $2 per gallon according to the on-line tracking site GasBuddy. People in Salina found the cheapest prices at the pump, where it was going for $1.58 per gallon. — Jessica Lowell

Northern Utah

UVU Printing 3D Face Masks

Utah Valley University is producing face masks for first responders using 3D-printers. The masks are designed and printed in a set of two interlocking pieces. A filter and elastic strap are added after the print job. They're designed to fit comfortably and seal to the face, held together by pressure when worn. Many of the masks will go to local healthcare workers. Some may be distributed in the United States and abroad to address the global shortage of basic protective equipment. — Diane Maggipinto

Living Traditions Festival Postponed

Salt Lake City has postponed its Living Traditions Festival due to the coronavirus outbreak. The celebration of arts and culture originally scheduled for May will now happen in September at the earliest. The Salt Lake Arts Council, which made the announcement Wednesday, said it will extend the deadline for artists and groups who still want to participate. The Utah Arts Festival also announced earlier this week its 2020 event won’t take place but will come back in June 2021. — Jessica Lowell

Region

Grand Canyon Closes Following Navajo Nation President Appeal

The Department of the Interior closed the Grand Canyon after receiving pressure from officials in Northern Arizona. That follows calls from Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez to shut down the park, as there are now more than 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation. More than half of those were reported in the past week. In a press conference Tuesday, Nez said the Navajo Nation has yet to receive any aid from the federal government and accused Congress of ignoring Indigenous people and tribes across the United States. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

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