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PM News Brief: Navajo Nation Checkpoints, General Conference & Medicaid Requirements

Photo of temple.
Lee Hale
/
KUER
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has moved its General Conference online due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Friday evening, April 3, 2020

SOUTHERN UTAH

Zion National Park Closing

A growing number of the country’s national parks — including Arches and Canyonlands— have shut their gates in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And as of Friday afternoon, Zion National Park has joined them. Gov. Gary Herbert made the announcement after the mayors of the nearby communities of Springdale, Rockville and St. George sent letters to the secretary of the Interior, requesting the closure of the park. Read the full story. — David Fuchs, St. George

Navajo Nation Adding Checkpoints

Anyone entering the Navajo Nation will now have to pass through a checkpoint and have their temperature taken, according to Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. On Facebook Friday, he said the tribal police will also be checking credentials at the roadblocks. But Navajo police said roads will not be blocked. Nez also said the tribal police will be enforcing the Nation’s Shelter-in-Place policy and will start issuing criminal citations to anyone who violates a nightly curfew implemented earlier this week. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

NORTHERN UTAH

General Conference Happening Online

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ General Conference usually means packed sidewalks and heavy traffic in downtown Salt Lake City. But the coronavirus outbreak has pushed this weekend’s event online. It’s the first time the public won't be able to attend the conference since 1919 during the Spanish Flu outbreak. Church leaders will broadcast sessions live from an auditorium on Temple Square this Saturday and Sunday. Music will be pre-recorded and only those who have been asked to speak or pray will attend in person. The church has also suspended worship services worldwide and is in the process of sending all missionaries back to their home countries. — Caroline Ballard

STATE

COVID-19 Update

As of Friday, Utah has now seen 1,246 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Despite a jump of more than 150 cases from the day before, State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn said that people should be focusing on two week trends which is still at a 10-15% growth rate. The state has tested more than 24,000 people, and there were no new coronavirus related deaths. Health officials said based on projections, even at the height of the outbreak, they shouldn't run out of ICU beds but they are still asking people to stay home and keep their distance. — Jessica Lowell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Utah Relaxes Medicaid Requirements

Utah has suspended “community engagement requirements” for enrolling in Medicaid due to COVID-19. As of Jan. 1, about a third of people applying for Medicaid in the state had to complete an online job assessment, training programs, and several dozen job searches in order to be eligible for the program. For the foreseeable future, those steps are no longer required. The Department of Health says everyone currently on Medicaid will stay on the program through the end of this emergency period. — Caroline Ballard

REGION

Plans For Sagebrush Restoration Released

The Bureau of Land Management released draft plans to conserve and restore Sagebrush habitat in the Great Basin. The area includes 223 million acres across six states including Utah. Part of the plan means constructing fuel breaks and reducing fuel in order to prevent large and severe wildfires. — Caroline Ballard

NATION

FBI Warns Of Health Care Fraud

The FBI is warning the health care industry to be wary of scams when buying medical equipment necessary to treat COVID-19, like masks, gowns and gloves. The agency says scammers could promise equipment they don’t have to capitalize on urgent needs. Suspicious activity can look like unknown vendors, unusual payment terms, last minute price changes and unexplained sources of bulk supply. — Caroline Ballard

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