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AM News Brief: Emergency Declaration Extended, UDOT Projects & SUU August Commencement

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Southern Utah University has pencilled in Aug. 8 for its commencement. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, April 8, 2020

Southern Utah

SUU Commencement

Southern Utah University has pencilled in Aug. 8 for its commencement. All of Utah’s public colleges and universities have cancelled or postponed graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus. SUU officials said the class is 2000-plus strong, including students earning masters, bachelors and associates degrees from the university in Cedar City. — Diane Maggipinto

Northern Utah

City Extends Emergency Declaration

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall has extended the city’s emergency declaration through May 7. At its Tuesday night meeting, the City Council approved the extension, which allows the mayor to continue to respond as the novel coronavirus emergency evolves. The Council also approved parts of a budget amendment that includes funding to mitigate impacts of the pandemic.

The Salt Lake County Council also approved a resolution Tuesday night to extend the county’s public health emergency declaration through July 6. — Diane Maggipinto

THC Nerds Counterfeit

The company that makes Nerds candy said a version of the product infused with THC was counterfeit. The candy with the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana was donated to a Roy food bank, and authorities said two children were hospitalized after eating it. They were later released and are expected to make a full recovery. Company officials said Tuesday they are cooperating with the investigation. The Utah Food Bank has said it is changing its processes to keep anything similar from happening again. — Associated Press

State

UDOT Announces 2020 Priorities

A nearly $500 million road widening in Davis and Weber counties tops the Utah Department of Transportation's list of construction projects this year. About a 10 mile stretch of U.S. 89 will have extra lanes added and be turned into a freeway. It’s scheduled to be completed in 2023. Some of the department’s other top projects include adding new ramps to I-15 in Salt Lake County, building a new highway to connect to I-80 in Tooele County and adding travel lanes near Moab. The list of 10 projects released by the department will cost more than $1.3 billion. Completion on some construction could come as early as this year, but most are slated to wrap up in 2021. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Region

Did I Already Have COVID-19?

Over the next few weeks, we’re curating community questions from across the region about the novel coronavirus. One listener wondered: could she have already had COVID-19? Holly Spriggs lives in Fremont County, WY. She had a bad cold and cough back in late January and wondered if it was the novel coronavirus. Epidemiologist Dr. Tim Sly said it’s unlikely for someone who lives in the Mountain West since the virus first turned up in the U.S. in mid-January in Seattle. — Amand Peacher, Mountain West News Bureau

You can submit your own questions about COVID-19 here.

Arrest Follows Threats Against Navajo People

A man in northern Arizona has been arrested for writing a racist social media post that accused Navajo people of carrying the coronavirus and calling for their deaths. The Page Police Department announced Tuesday that 34-year-old Daniel Franzen was taken into custody on suspicion of attempting to incite an act of terrorism. Police said they received reports of a Facebook post that urged people to use "lethal force" against the Navajo community because they were "100% infected" with COVID-19. — Associated Press

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