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PM News Brief: Hydroxychloroquine Purchase, Navajo Nation Tests & University of Utah Energy

Photo of the U sign on the university of utah campus
Brian Albers
/
KUER
The University of Utah announced that it has surpassed its goal of reducing its energy use by 20% by this year.

Monday evening, April 20, 2020

STATE

Hydroxychloroquine Purchase

Utah is getting ready to buy enough hydroxychloroquine to treat 200,000 coronavirus patients. But there’s still little evidence the drug actually works against COVID-19. In an email to KUER, General Jeff Burton, who is heading up the Health Department’s COVID-19 response team, said the drug would be available free of charge from Utah pharmacies as long as the patient has a certified active case of COVID-19 and a prescription from a licensed physician. On Monday, the Justice Department also cleared the way for U.S. drug companies to distribute the controversial treatment. Read the full story. — Andrew Becker

COVID-19 Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Utah surpassed 3,200 Monday. The state had its largest daily increase of new cases since April 8. Utah’s epidemiologist said they were starting to see a flattening of the curve last week but that could also be due to fewer people getting tested. Still, more than 68,000 Utahns have been tested for the virus and health officials said they are seeing a consistent 5% rate of new cases. The state did announce one more death bringing the total to 28. — Ross Terrell

Concealed Carry Scam

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of online scams concerning Concealed Carry Permits. The bureau said it’s received reports of people completing online firearms training, paying money and then never receiving a certificate. Others reported being confused over whether the training certificates were actual permits. It recommends people check with Utah’s Department of Public Safety to understand what is required to receive a Concealed Carry Permit. — Caroline Ballard

SOUTHERN UTAH

Navajo Nation Test Rates

So far, the Navajo Nation has tested over 6,000 of its roughly 170,000 residents — almost double the testing rate for Utah and higher than all U.S. states except New York. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said that could be why Navajo appears to have a higher infection rate than its surrounding states. But tests on the Navajo Nation are coming back positive at 4 times the rate of tests in Utah, and the death rate on the reservation is over 30 times higher than Utah’s death rate, which means the virus is disproportionately impacting the Navajo Nation. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

NORTHERN UTAH

Utah County Convention

Two Utah County Republican incumbents running for the State House of Representatives did not get nominated for the ballot at this weekend’s convention. Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, did not get enough support from his county’s convention and chose not to gather signatures as an alternative way to get on the June primary ballot. Rep. Kay Christofferson, R- Lehi, will still be on the primary ballot after gathering more than 1,000 signatures. — Sonja Hutson

Salt Lake City Stay-At-Home Enforcement

Hundreds of people gathered in Salt Lake City for a weekend rally that violated the county’s public health order but police issued no citations. Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said Monday that’s because law enforcement didn’t want to provoke the group and police need to coordinate their strategy for future gatherings. Salt Lake City police haven’t cited anyone for violations since the order was put in place in late March, instead focusing on an educational approach. — Emily Means

University of Utah Surpasses Energy Goal

The University of Utah has surpassed its goal of reducing its energy use by 20% by this year. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the U has reduced its usage by 25% since 2008. It’s part of the Better Buildings Challenge, an Obama administration initiative to make public and commercial buildings more energy efficient. Out of 23 participating universities, Utah was the fifth to meet its goal. — Caroline Ballard

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