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PM News Brief: Travel Notifications, Testing Capacity & Huntsman Makes The Ballot

Photo of a welcome to utah sign
State officials have stopped sending push notifications asking drivers entering Utah to fill out an online questionnaire about potential coronavirus exposure.

Monday evening, April 13, 2020


State To Suspend Push Notifications For Visitors

State officials have stopped sending push notifications to drivers entering Utah. The notifications asked them to fill out an online questionnaire about their potential exposure to the coronavirus. People who hadn’t crossed the border were getting alerts, some as many at 15 or 20 times. Instead of push notifications, the state plans to use electronic signs over the freeway to ask people to fill out the travel forms. — Sonja Hutson

State Hasn’t Reached Testing Capacity & Recovered Cases

Utah has tested 45,787 people for COVID-19 as of Monday. State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn says the department of health has expanded its capacity for testing but there’s been a decrease in demand. The state can handle more than 4,000 tests a day and people can get screened if they have any symptoms, like a fever or cough, even if they are mild. Utah has seen more than 2,363 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Health officials say 218 people have recovered. — Jessica Lowell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Trump Leads Biden In Early Polls

A new poll from Utah Policy and Y2 Analytics shows President Trump leading among likely Utah voters when matched up against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Trump received 46% of voters’ support while Biden got 41%. The former vice president pulled more independents in the poll — with 39% of true independents supporting him and 32% supporting Trump. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won Utah with 45.5% of Utah’s vote. — Caroline Ballard

Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Makes The Ballot

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman gathered enough signatures to qualify for the Republican gubernatorial primary ballot in late June. Huntsman is the last of the Republican candidates to reach the required 28,000 valid signatures. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and former Utah Republican Party chairman Thomas Wright qualified earlier this year. Businessman Jeff Burningham suspended his signature gathering efforts in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Burningham, Greg Hughes, former Speaker of the Utah House, and Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton hope to get enough support from delegates at the state convention next weekend to qualify for the primary ballot. —  Sonja Hutson


Salt Lake County Rents Out Hotel For Homeless

Salt Lake County announced Monday it’s renting out an entire hotel for the next two weeks to house asymptomatic people staying at homeless shelters who are older than 60 or have underlying health conditions. The idea is to increase social distancing for people who are at an increased risk for complications due to COVID-19. The hotel has capacity for 130 people and the lease could be extended if necessary. Read KUER’s full story. — Sonja Hutson


Washington County Officials React To National News Story

ABC News reported on Friday that life under the coronavirus pandemic is relatively unchanged for most Washington County residents. The coverage — which included a broadcast segment and web article — described bustling businesses, packed golf courses, cavalier elected officials and a public for whom COVID-19 is “out of sight, out of mind.” But local leaders say the stories missed the mark. Read KUER’s full story. — David Fuchs, St. George


Eggs Are Out There, You Just Have To Find Them

It’s hard to keep some items stocked in stores these days. We’ve all heard about the toilet paper shortage but eggs are also in high demand. They’re a staple and one of the main ingredients in a popular stay-at-home activity these days — baking. But the egg industry says there are still a lot of eggs out there. A ton of them were supposed to go to places like restaurants and hotels. Now they just need to be redirected — and repackaged. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West New Bureau


Census Bureau Asks Congress For Extension

The Census Bureau has asked Congress for an extension to complete the 2020 Census. If granted, the Aug. 14 deadline for the count would be pushed back to Oct. 31. The Bureau announced in March it was suspending field operations because of COVID-19. It now aims to start up again in June. In the meantime, online self-response is still open. The Bureau is obligated by statute to report numbers to the president for congressional redistricting by Dec. 31. The Bureau is also asking Congress to move that deadline back to April 30, 2021. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

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