Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News Briefs

PM News Brief: Flaming Gorge Dam, Rural Small Businesses & 20 COVID-19 Deaths

Photo of the Flaming Gorge dam.
Wikimedia Commons
The Flaming Gorge Dam will remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday evening, April 15, 2020

STATE

Latinx Community Bearing Brunt Of COVID-19 Cases

As demographic data emerges around the country on coronavirus infections, health officials are finding people of color are disproportionately affected. That’s true in Utah too, where about a third of the state’s confirmed cases are people of color, with the Latinx community hit the hardest. Read KUER’s full story. — Jon Reed

Religious Organizations Eligible For Federal Relief

In a letter sent earlier this week, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and 16 other Republican senators praised the U.S. Treasury and Small Business Administration for clarifying that faith-based organizations can receive economic relief under the federal CARES Act. The interim rule ensures that those organizations, including houses of worship, can participate in the Paycheck Protection and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Programs, even if they don’t offer secular services.  — Caroline Ballard

New COVID-19 Death Announced

Utah health officials announced another COVID-19 related death Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 20. State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn said they continue to test a large number of people as national reports have put the state in the top 10 for testing per capita. So far, 47,614 Utahns have been tested for the coronavirus, and there have been 2,542 confirmed positive cases. — Jessica Lowell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

NORTHERN UTAH

The Road Home Will Test All Clients At South Salt Lake Shelter

Everyone staying at The Road Home’s men resource center in South Salt Lake will be tested for coronavirus, even if they are asymptomatic. The organization, which works with people experiencing homelesness, announced Wednesday that the widespread screening started earlier this week after two people staying there tested positive for COVID-19. People staying at the family resource center in Midvale will be checked on an as-needed basis. If someone tests positive, they will be isolated at a facility in Salt Lake County until they recover. — Grace Osusky

Flaming Gorge Dam To Remain Closed To Visitors

The Flaming Gorge Dam, which typically reopens on April 15, will remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Officials there said they are cooperating with the governor’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive. It’s located a few miles south of the Wyoming-Utah border and is closed to visitors during the winter. Despite remaining shut down for recreation, essential functions, like water delivery and power plant operations, will continue. — Grace Osusky

Preservation Grant To Help Small Businesses

The Salt Lake Chamber announced Wednesday it has created a new grant program to help rural and minority-owned small businesses statewide during the coronavirus pandemic. WCF Insurance donated $500,000 to kick start the Mainstreet Preservation Grant. The funds are meant to provide short-term relief for businesses before federal stimulus money is available. In a release, the chamber says the plan is to start distributing money next week. Businesses can apply for grants of up to $5,000 through their local chambers of commerce or county economic development departments. — Caroline Ballard

REGION

USPS On Its Last Leg?

The U.S. Postal Service is in trouble. It was already losing billions of dollars every year. Then COVID-19 happened and people started sending less mail. The National Rural Letter Carriers Association says the Postal Service visits every rural household in America, something private companies like FedEx or UPS don’t do. The organization says unless the USPS received federal stimulus funds, the institution could be on its last legs. — Noah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau

KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.