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AM News Brief: Medical Volunteers Head To NYC, Utah's ICU Beds & Lee Endorses Huntsman For Gov

Photo of Intermountain Medical Center and Utah Capitol.
KUER File Photo
Intermountain Healthcare is sending two response teams to New York City on Tuesday to help care for patients with COVID-19. This story and more in the Monday morning news brief.

Monday morning, April 13, 2020

State

Sen. Lee For Huntsman

Republican Sen. Mike Lee endorsed Jon Huntsman Jr. in Utah's race for governor on Friday. Lee called the Republican a true conservative who has supported local control of federal public lands, opposed abortion and pushed back against the federal education initiative "No Child Left Behind" from former Republican President George W. Bush. Lee served as general counsel in Huntsman’s previous administration as Utah governor. Other Republican candidates in the race include Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, ex-GOP chair Thomas Wright, ex-House Speaker Greg Hughes and Salt Lake County Council member Aimee Winder Newton. — Associated Press

Special Legislative Session

The Utah legislature plans to call itself into special session later this week to potentially make changes to local stay at home orders, expand vote by mail, make budget adjustments and decide how to spend $100 million out of roughly $700 million in federal aid to fight coronavirus. But lawmakers plan to save big changes to the budget for another special session in May or June. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Latest Utah COVID Numbers

Coronavirus cases in Utah grew this weekend, with more than 200 new positive cases confirmed. The state health department has now seen 2,300 people contract the disease and more than 44,000 have been tested. It also announced one new death. Nearly half of the state’s cases are in Salt Lake County, which recently extended its stay-at-home order until May 1. — Ross Terrell

Utah’s ICU Beds

According to some projections, Utah should have enough ICU beds to take care of critically sick patients with coronavirus, even when cases reach their peak. But a recent analysis from Kaiser Health News found those beds aren’t spread out evenly. The analysis looked at the number of ICU beds relative to a county’s residents over the age of 60. It found that 16 counties in the state don’t have any beds, including Box Elder, Garfield, and Juab. And even in Utah county, which has the most beds per residents, there are still almost 500 seniors per bed. So if the state starts to see a big spike in cases, doctors might have to decide who gets treatment. — Jon Reed

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

Virtual Graduation At The U

The University of Utah has decided to hold a virtual spring commencement for its senior class. The online ceremony will take place April 30, and there will also be an in-person graduation in December. Students who graduated in Summer of 2019 through Fall of 2020 will be invited to the in-person event. — Ross Terrell

Correction 4/13/20 11:50 a.m. MDT: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed additional ceremony options.

Utah Medical Volunteers Head To New York

Intermountain Healthcare is sending two response teams to New York City on Tuesday to help care for patients with COVID-19. The city has become one of the biggest hotspots in the U.S. for coronavirus cases. The teams of 50 will be made of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers and will be volunteering for up to two weeks at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Northwell Health. Intermountain said the trips will give providers from Utah more experience treating COVID patients before peak cases are expected to hit the state in May or June. — Jon Reed

Free Weddings Or A Funeral

American Fork residents can now use their city hall for weddings and funerals for free. Mayor Brad Frost recently announced that residents can have up to ten people physically present and additional guests can attend virtually. Frost said their city hall isn’t being used and they have the equipment to help guests participate from their homes. However, the service will end once officials lift social distancing requirements. — Jessica Lowell

Hunter Education Option

People who want to complete their hunting education course in Utah can now take the required “field day” online. Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources has moved all classes online to adhere to social distancing standards. In order to hunt in the state, people need to complete the class either online or in-person. The field day includes a live-fire shooting exercise. People will instead record and send in a video of them shooting a gun, and an instructor will evaluate it. — Jessica Lowell

Region

Understanding COVID-19 Through Personal Stories

There is a lot of data related to COVID-19: case numbers, mortality rates and more. Researchers in our region are now collecting personal stories to get a more complete understanding of the virus. By asking questions about personal and family health, communities and economics, researchers are looking to combine and visualize experiences of people around the world. — Noah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau

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