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PM News Brief: Unemployment Rises, Romney Questions Trump, & Raccoon Water

Photo of a racoon climbing a tree
Wikimedia Commons
The Magna Water District has issued a boil water advisory, covering the entire town of Magna and parts of West Valley and Salt Lake cities, after a dead raccoon was found in one of its storage tanks.

Thursday evening, April 9, 2020

STATE

Unemployment Numbers Rise For Third Week In A Row

The number of unemployment claims in Utah rose for the third week in a row. The Department of Workforce Services announced Thursday more than 33,000 people filed for benefits last week — up 16% from the previous week’s record. Kevin Burt with the department said though, that many of those workers have been furloughed and are expected to return to work after the pandemic. Burt said anyone who got a check this week should have also seen an extra $600 as part of the federal relief package passed last month. — Jon Reed

Romney Joins Bi-Partisan Effort Questioning President Trump

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney has signed on to a bi-partisan letter asking President Trump to explain his firing of the inspector general of the intelligence community. In September, Inspector General Michael Atkinson alerted Congress to a whistleblower complaint that the president had pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. That complaint led to Trump’s impeachment where he was eventually acquitted. The president dismissed Atkinson on April 3 saying he lost confidence in him. The letter signed by Romney and seven other senators said that is not enough, and that the president is required to list his reasons for firing Atkinson at least 30 days before he’s removed. — Caroline Ballard

NORTHERN UTAH

Salt Lake County Extends Stay-At-Home Order

Salt Lake County has extended its stay at home order until May 1. Mayor Jenny Wilson made the announcement Thursday and said after the order ends, businesses will be phased back in gradually until things eventually return to normal. As of Thursday, Utah has seen 1,976 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with nearly half in Salt Lake County. Some 38,373 people have been tested and 168 have been hospitalized. — Jessica Lowell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Salt Lake County Warns of Stimulus Check Scams

The Salt Lake County district attorney is warning people not to fall for stimulus check scams. The checks are a part of the federal CARES package. Eligible adults will receive a one time payment of $1,200 and $500 per child. District Attorney Sim Gill said scammers are calling or texting people asking them to sign up to receive their money or verify personal information like social security numbers. Gill said there is also no way to speed up when you’ll get your money, but if you do want to check your status, only use the IRS website. — Ross Terrell

Dead Raccoon Leads To Boil Water Advisory

The Magna Water District has issued a boil water advisory after a dead raccoon was found in one of its storage tanks. The advisory covers the entire town of Magna and parts of West Valley and Salt Lake cities. Under the order, you should not drink or use the water without boiling it first for at least five minutes and then letting it cool. The district also recommends using bottled water. Although the raccoon has been removed, officials said they expect two days of testing before confirming there will be no health impacts. — Ross Terrell

SOUTHERN UTAH

Rural Hospitals Struggle During Coronavirus Pandemic

Despite the growing need for health care in response to the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals, along with almost every industry in the country, have been hit economically. As they gear up for a potential surge in coronavirus patients, major revenue sources are starting to dry up. The cuts affect most hospitals In Utah, but hit the state’s rural hospitals hardest, according to the Utah Hospital Association. For them, elective surgeries and outpatient services are essential to keep business going, but both have been halted as more patients stay home. Read KUER’s full story.Jon Reed

REGION

Nevada Bans Open Houses

People across our region are being asked to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But what about people looking to buy or sell homes? Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak this week prohibited in-person open houses on real estate sales, joining Colorado as the only states in our region to ban the practice outright. Nevadans can still view homes in person, as long as they practice social distancing. — Noah Glick, Mountain West New Bureau

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