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AM News Brief: Sharp COVID Warning, Statue Vandals & Moab City To Discuss Public Land Lease

A decorative road sign reads “Welcome to Moab, Grand County, Utah.”
Kate Groetzinger
The Moab City Council will discuss plans by the Bureau of Land Management to lease around 80,000 acres of land around Moab at their meeting Tuesday night. This and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, June 23, 2020


Epidemiologist Says More Action Against COVID May Be Necessary

Utah's State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn is warning that the recent rapid spread of the coronavirus threatens hospitals' supply of intensive care beds and says they could reach capacity next month. Dunn said potential looms for reinstating some restrictions that were lifted last month. In a memo to state leaders, Dunn wrote that the concerning situation is such that the only option to manage spread and prevent deaths is a complete shutdown. In response, Gov. Gary Herbert tweeted Monday night that Dunn's memo raises alarms and that he shares many of her concerns but has ”no plans to shut down Utah’s economy.” In a separate tweet, Herbert urges people to follow guidelines for social distancing, hand-washing and especially the use of face coverings. — Associated Press/Diane Maggiapinto

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

COVID By The Numbers

Utah’s health department reported 444 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. That makes 13 consecutive days that health officials have reported more than 300 new daily cases. Over the past week, Utah’s positivity rate was 12.5%. Health officials have said in the past when that number is under 5%, it’s a sign we are flattening the curve. So far, 299,312 people have been tested, and 9,863 cases are considered recovered. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Search For Brigham Young Statue Vandals

Brigham Young University police are searching for the people who vandalized a statue of Brigham Young. Campus Police Lt. Rich Christianson said surveillance video shows two vandals who poured red paint over the front of the statue some time before dawn on June 15. The word "racist" was written in spray paint across the pedestal of the statue. The suspects face potential criminal mischief charges for the estimated $1,000 in damages. — Associated Press

Southern Utah

Moab Takes Up Public Land Lease Debate

The Moab City Council will discuss plans by the Bureau of Land Management to lease around 80,000 acres of land around Moab at their meeting Tuesday night. Grand County will also take up the topic at their first meeting in July. The sale includes public land right next to the popular recreation areas of Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park and elsewhere. Local officials said both the city and county applied to work with the Bureau on an environmental analysis of the sale, but both applications were denied. The public comment period closes July 9. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff


Diné Pride

The Navajo Nation’s legislative council passed a proclamation creating Diné Pride Week Monday, marking a shift in the council’s position on LGBTQ rights. Activists said it’s a historic move, as same sex marriage is not recognized on the Navajo Nation, and LGBTQ people there aren’t protected from gender-based discrimination. There are ongoing efforts to make identity-based discrimination illegal and activists said that could could happen this year. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Navajo COVID Cases

The Navajo Department of Health reported 55 new cases of COVID-19 Monday on the reservation and no additional deaths. The Navajo leader said over the last eight days of reporting, the Nation has averaged 80 cases of COVID-19 per day, and the number of positive cases is declining. The total number of positive cases is now around 7,000. 335 people have died. A daily curfew remains in place on the Navajo Nation. — Diane Maggipinto

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