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PM News Brief: Randomized COVID Testing, Cannabis Drive-Thru & Reassignment Surgery

Medical Cannabis
ISTOCK
A pharmacy in Ogden will open Utah’s first drive-thru to fulfill medical cannabis prescriptions on Tuesday.";

STATE

University Of Utah Conducting Randomized COVID Testing

The University of Utah is in the process of testing about 10,000 residents in the state in order to get a sense of how widespread COVID-19 is. They’re using two tests: one for the virus that causes COVID-19, and another for the antibodies that fight it. The researchers are recruiting households to participate in four Utah counties. Rather than placing ads asking for volunteers, they’re preselecting households in certain census blocks, and then asking them if they’ll participate. — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau

Healthy Together App Privacy Concerns

State Sen. Dan Hemmert, R-Orem, is planning to sponsor a bill aimed at protecting the privacy of Utahns who use the state’s COVID-19 voluntary contact tracing app. The Healthy Together app prompts users to take a symptom assessment each day and connects them with a testing site if they have symptoms. It also tracks where users go, if they give the app permission to do so. State officials said location data is deleted and information about symptoms is anonymized after 30 days. Hemmert said he wants to make that policy law and require all data to be deleted when the state no longer needs it to fight COVID-19. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

COVID-19 Update

Utah has now had more than 8,500 hundred confirmed cases of COVID-19. That’s according to data released Monday by the state’s department of health. Officials also reported one new death, bringing the state’s total to 98. The woman was older than 85 and lived in Cache County. No other details have been provided. So far, health officials estimate nearly 61% of the state’s cases have recovered and more than 196,000 people have been tested. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Virtual Memorial Day Celebration

Since World War 1, nearly 3,000 Utahns have died serving in the military. That’s according to the state’s Department of Veterans and Military Affairs. The coronavirus pandemic has pushed many ceremonies honoring the fallen online. In a video released Monday, Gov. Gary Herbert, along with other elected officials, offered thanks to people who have served. Herbert ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Monday and called for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. asking people to pray for peace. — Ross Terrell

NORTHERN UTAH

South Ogden Cannabis Pharmacy Opens Drive-Thru

A pharmacy in Ogden will open Utah’s first drive-thru to fulfill medical cannabis prescriptions. Perfect Earth Modern Apothecary opened two locations at the beginning of May and will begin filling prescriptions through its drive-thru in South Ogden Tuesday. There are currently three pharmacies in the state providing medical cannabis, with 11 more proposed. To receive the drug, patients are required to have a doctor’s recommendation letter and a medical cannabis card issued by the state. — Caroline Ballard

REGION

SCOTUS Rules On Reassignment Surgery

For the first time in the nation, a prison inmate will get court-ordered sex reassignment surgery. After a U.S. Supreme Court decision last week, the surgery is slated to go forward for a transgender woman in Idaho. Legal experts say the decision means every other prison in the 9th Circuit will have to conform with that court’s ruling. — Amanda Peacher, Mountain West News Bureau

WORLD

Church Announces 14 More Temple Reopenings

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced plans to reopen 14 more temples on June 1. That brings the total to 66 temples worldwide. The church closed all locations and canceled in-person worship services in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first phase of reopening, the sites are only open to husband-and-wife sealing ceremonies. Moving forward, temples will gradually reopen to all ordinances with increased safety precautions like social distancing and hand sanitizing stations. — Caroline Ballard

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