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PM News Brief: Four COVID-19 Deaths, Olympia Hills & Gubernatorial Race

Photo of the intermountain health care hospital
Brian Albers
/
KUER
More than 2,000 Utah hospitals and health care providers are receiving their first payments as part of the federal CARES Act.

Friday evening, April 10, 2020

STATE

Four New COVID-19 Deaths

Four more COVID-19 related deaths in Utah were announced Friday bringing the state's total to 17. State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn said they were all over the age of 60, and two of them lived in a long term care facility. But she says the state now has the ability to test anyone with symptoms which could help the more vulnerable population. Utah has now seen 2,102 people test positive for the disease. The state has also tested 40,762 people. — Jessica Lowell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Cox And Huntsman Lead Gubernatorial Race

In the race for governor, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and former Gov. Jon Huntsman are still the favorites to win the Republican nomination. That’s based on a new poll released Friday by Utah Policy and KUTV. Their support has stayed fairly constant since December, but former Speaker of the House Greg Hughes’ popularity has surged in the last four months. Sixteen percent of Republicans said they would vote for Hughes, which is an increase of more than 11 percentage points over that time. Still, it’s only about half the support Huntsman has who is polling in second place. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Hospital Receiving Federal Aid

More than 2,000 Utah hospitals and health care providers are receiving their first payments as part of the federal CARES Act. This part of the act is meant to help keep the country’s health care system running financially. In Utah, over $185 million will be distributed. Providers often rely on non-essential procedures to make money, but Utah has restricted them until late April because of the pandemic. Utah Congressman Ben McAdams said in a release he is coming up with improvements to the relief package, since he has heard from some Utah hospitals about possible gaps in funding. — Caroline Ballard

NORTHERN UTAH

Holy Week During A Pandemic

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake has canceled in-person mass due to the coronavirus pandemic — which means Catholics across Utah will not be gathering to celebrate Easter this Sunday. The fact that sacraments like confession and the eucharist are canceled during Holy Week is no small thing but some institutions have been offering drive-up confessions while practicing social distancing. Many priests in Utah will also be streaming online Holy Week Services. Read KUER’s full story. — Grace Osusky

Magna Lifts Boil Water Advisory

Magna Water District has lifted its boil water advisory. The entire town of Magna and parts of Salt Lake and West Valley cities were given the boil order Thursday after a dead raccoon was found in one of the district's water tanks. The district had 38,000 bottles of water ready to hand out Friday, but samples of the water show safe bacteria levels. — Ross Terrell

Olympia Hills Referendum Signature Gathering Suspended

Signature gathering for a referendum on the controversial Olympia Hills development has been suspended. Utah for Responsible Growth filed three petitions against the development which is scheduled to bring 6,300 houses to less than 1,000 acres in Herriman. But the governor’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive meant the citizen group would have to gather signatures electronically. They announced Thursday it would be too difficult to do that because voters would need to print out the entire petition which is more than 270 pages long. The organization says they might take legal action in the future. — Jessica Lowell

REGION

San Miguel Tests Thousands For Coronavirus

Thousands of people took part in free coronavirus blood testing offered by a biomedical company to one Colorado county. San Miguel County is one of a few places in the world where testing has been offered to an entire community. Results are still coming in, but so far, out of about 1,600 blood tests, only eight people’s blood shows signs they’ve encountered the virus before. It’s unclear at this point when a second round of testing will happen, to catch additional cases that may have flared up since the first test. — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau

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