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AM News Brief: Thirteen Deaths On Navajo Nation, Antibody Testing & Cleaning Restaurants

Stock photo of leftover food on a table.
In the two weeks since Utah permitted dine-in service, the Salt Lake County Health Department has recorded around 50 complaints about COVID-19 procedures at restaurants. This story and more in the Monday morning news brief.

Monday morning, May 18, 2020


Nearly 60% Of Utah’s COVID-19 Cases Are Recovered

The Utah Department of Health reported 325 new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the weekend, bringing the state’s total to 7,238. Nearly 60% of those cases are considered recovered though. Health officials also announced three more deaths, bringing the state’s total to 80. All three were from Salt Lake County, and two were residents at long-term care facilities. So far, more than 170,000 thousand Utahns have been tested. — Emily Means

Restaurant Cleaning Standards

In the two weeks since Utah permitted dine-in service, the Salt Lake County Health Department has recorded around 50 complaints about COVID-19 procedures at restaurants. A spokesperson from the department said most of the comments are either about employees not wearing masks or customers not social distancing. Other requirements for dine-in operations include checking employees’ temperatures, sanitizing tables between customer use and limiting contact between servers and patrons. Parts of Salt Lake County have shifted to the “yellow,” low-risk phase and others remain in the orange, moderate phase, but the food service guidelines are the same in both. — Emily Means

Northern Utah

More Antibody Testing

Four Utah cities will start offering COVID-19 antibody tests to its residents. Starting Wednesday, people living in Draper, Riverton, Bluffdale and Vineyard will be able to get checked for the presence of antibodies even if they had no coronavirus symptoms. But it’s not free; the tests cost $70 apiece. Residents should get results in about 15 to 20 minutes. In a joint statement, the mayors of the cities say they need to know the “true infection rate” of their communities so they can work to limit the spread of the virus. — Ross Terrell

Concert Plans For 1000s To Attend May 30

Most of Utah is now in the yellow, low-risk level of the coronavirus recovery plan, and some people are beginning to think about large scale events. “Utah Business Revival” is a group of small business owners planning a concert for May 30, and organizers are planning for an attendance of 600 to 800. Kaysville police Chief Sol Oberg said the police department doesn’t have any plans to put a stop to the event. And the city’s mayor, Katie Witt, said the event can create a template for other places to follow. Read the full story. — Jessica Lowell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.


Missionary Killed In Hit-And-Run

A teen missionary serving with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was hit and killed by a car while riding his bike in Georgia. 19-year-old Elder McKay Bergeson of Bountiful was struck Saturday night; his companion was unhurt. Bergeson began his service last December for the Tennessee Knoxville mission on the Georgia state line. According to Chattanooga NewsChannel 9, Georgia state troopers said it was a hit-and-run and Bergeson was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver has not been found and the investigation continues. — Diane Maggipinto

Thirteen More Deaths Reported On Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation imposed another 57 hour curfew over the weekend. Another 13 deaths from COVID-19 were confirmed on Saturday, and 262 new positive tests were reported over the weekend. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said large-scale coronavirus testing on the reservation outpaces all states based on population, with nearly 25,000 administered. A stay-at-home order and day curfew remain in place across the reservation. — Diane Maggipinto

County Budgets Take Hit

County budgets will lose $144 billion through next fiscal year. That’s the estimate from the National Association of Counties. The group is urging Congress to provide more direct, flexible funding for local governments in the next coronavirus stimulus package. The organization wants money that can be used to respond to the pandemic and fill in budget gaps. — Noah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau

Westerners More Likely To Conserve Water

A new survey finds people in the west are more likely to say they practice water conservation at home than the rest of the country. The American Public Media project The Water Main wanted to know how people think, feel and worry about water quality and quantity. The survey also finds that knowledge about water issues doesn’t always translate into action. Personal connections to particular lakes, rivers and oceans made a person more likely to act on water, like limiting use inside or outside the home. Read the full story. — Luke Runyon, KUNC

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