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AM News Brief: Eating The Girl Scout Cookie Loss, Immunizations Down & Free Masks

Photo of girl scout cookie boxes.
Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar
/
Flickr Creative Commons
Utah Girl Scouts still have more than 100,000 unsold boxes of cookies in their inventory. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, April 29, 2020

State

State To Issue Free Masks

Utah will provide 2 million free masks for residents who don’t already have one. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox announced the public-private partnership Monday. Manufacturers in the state will produce 1.5 million masks, and the rest will come from a private company. Cox said people can order them online and they are reusable, but priority will be given to vulnerable populations and essential employees going back to work. The state plans to move from its high risk phase of pandemic response to the moderate phase on Friday. Under that plan, people will be allowed to gather in groups of up to 20, schools and church services will remain closed, and strict social-distancing measures will continue. That includes wearing masks in public. — Ross Terrell

Calls To Utah Poison Control Up 20%

Poison control centers across the country have seen a sharp increase in the number of calls they receive about cleaning products, and Utah is no exception. The state’s poison control center has fielded nearly 650 calls about household cleaning products since the beginning of the year — roughly 20% more calls than they received over the same time period in 2019. Calls involving dangerous exposure to hand sanitizer are up 58%, and roughly twice as many people as usual are reaching out about dangerous encounters with disinfectants. Read the full story. — David Fuchs

Eating The Loss On Girl Scout Cookie Sales

Utah Girl Scouts still have more than 100,000 unsold boxes of cookies in their inventory. Last year, they sold nearly 1.5 million boxes in large part by sitting at “cookie booths” in front of grocery stores. This year they have shifted to only online sales due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Callie Birdsall-Chambers with Girl Scouts of Utah said cookie sales make up 68% of their budget every year and estimates they are $500,000 short of where they were last year. But, she said Girl Scouts of Utah council will eat the cost of the cookies the troops could not sell. — Jessica Lowell

Utahns Respond To Census

Utah ranks seventh in the country for census responses after 58.7% of households participated in the survey. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the Census Bureau released data Monday showing Utah is above the 53.4% national average after 700,000 Utah households responded. Officials say households were asked to fill out questionnaires online and anyone who has yet to do so will receive multiple reminders. Census counts are used to determine how many seats a state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives and determines federal government funding. — Associated Press

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Gubernatorial Hopefuls Square Off

Utah’s five candidates for governor are facing off in a virtual debate Monday at 11:30 a.m. On the Republican side: former Governor Jon Huntsman, former Utah GOP Chair Thomas Wright and Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox who all qualified for the June primary by gathering more than 28,000 signatures. Former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes — along with Cox — who received a nomination at the Republican state convention. They’ll all compete in the June primary for a spot on the November ballot. The Democratic nominee has already been decided: University of Utah law professor Chris Peterson. He’ll be in the debate as well. — Sonja Hutson

Region/Nation

Navajo Nation Extends Curfew

Navajo Nation leaders announced an additional 104 new COVID-19 cases and another death. The total number of positive tests for the coronavirus is nearing 1,900, with 60 deaths as of Tuesday. One new case of COVID-19 was reported in Utah Navajo. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced a fourth consecutive curfew Friday night through Monday morning. — Diane Maggipinto

Fewer Immunizations

COVID-19 has public health professionals worried about a downturn in kids getting vaccinated. They are concerned that one outbreak could lead to others. Some diseases, like measles, are more contagious than COVID-19. And there’s some evidence on a local and national scale that vaccinations are down, as checkups get postponed or skipped due to worries about getting exposed to the new coronavirus. — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau

Energy Downturn To Hit Wyoming Hardest

Recent federal statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show the downturn in the energy sector is affecting Mountain West states differently. Wyoming is likely to be the hardest hit even though it produces less oil and gas than its neighbor in Colorado. It all comes down to diversification of industry and tax revenue. — Cooper McKim, Mountain West News Bureau

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