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AM News Brief: Grizzly Bear Cubs, Deadly Driving Holiday & Memorial Day Services

An American flag at half-staff.
Eric Kilby
An American flag at half-staff.

Monday morning, May 25, 2020


Unused State Coronavirus Contracts To Expire

Utah spent nearly $1.5 million on a quarantine center and a hospital overflow site, but did not use either. Hospitals did not run out of capacity and county facilities have been taking on people who need a place to quarantine. The state plans to let both of those contracts expire at the end of May and June, respectively. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

Memorial Day Services Amid COVID

Most local and state ceremonies honoring fallen soldiers Monday in Utah have been cancelled or adapted because of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Kelsey Price with the state’s Department of Veteran and Military Affairs. Price said state officials will provide a Facebook stream of the laying of the wreath ceremony Monday morning at 9 a.m. The state also created a website for people to upload video and written messages to veterans. — Jessica Lowell

Deadliest Driving Holiday

Memorial Day is the worst holiday for driving fatalities in Utah. That’s according to analysis from the website It found that Utah has an average of 15 fatal crashes over the holiday. As of last week, Utah Highway Patrol said there have been 84 highway fatalities in 2020 — the most crashes at this point in the year since 2017. That’s despite the fact that Utahns have been driving less due to the coronavirus pandemic.  —  Elaine Clark

Utah Approaches 100 COVID Deaths

The Utah Department of Health reported 335 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the total number of cases to almost 8,400. Health officials also reported four more deaths — three from Salt Lake County and one from Utah County. That brings the state’s death total to 97. More than 680 people have been hospitalized and it’s estimated that just over 5,000 people have recovered. — Sonja Hutson

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Flags Flying At Half-Staff

Flags across Utah have been flying at half-staff this holiday weekend. Gov. Gary Herbert ordered U.S. and Utah state flags at state office buildings to be flown at half-staff on Sunday to honor coronavirus victims. Flags will also be lowered Monday in recognition of Memorial Day. Herbert encouraged residents to lower their flags. He called on Utahns to use Memorial Day as a day for prayer and asked people to observe a moment of silence at 3 p.m. — Sonja Hutson

IHC Eases Visitor Restrictions

Intermountain Healthcare began easing some visitor restrictions on Friday. Now, two people can visit non-COVID-19 patients. And certain patients who have suspected or active cases of the virus can also receive limited visitors. That includes end-of-life patients and people under the age of 18. All visitors will still be screened with temperature checks and questions about symptoms. Visitors are also required to wear masks and take other precautions. — Elaine Clark


Grizzly 399 And Her Four Cubs

Our region is home to the world’s most famous bear — Grizzly 399. She lives in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Last week, she made her springtime debut with four cubs in tow. That’s highly unusual as bears typically give birth to single or twin cubs. It’s also unusual due to her mature age of 24. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

Why Aren’t State’s Requiring Face Masks?

A listener in Idaho wanted to know why many states aren’t requiring people to wear face masks in public. David Pate with Idaho’s Governor’s Coronavirus Working Group said his state is counting on voluntary compliance. That said, he strongly urges everyone to wear a mask in public. He said the masks aren’t there to protect you, they are there to protect others. If you are infected with the virus, you may not show symptoms. But you begin immediately shedding the virus even by talking. The mask helps block the spread of COVID–19. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

You can submit your own questions about COVID-19 here.

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