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PM News Brief: Record Number Of COVID Cases, Piute Commissioner Nazi Tweet & Utah Virtual Job Fair

Photo of a woman wearing a mask
KUER file
Utah is inching closer to maxing out its hospital capacity with each new case of COVID-19, State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn said in an email Friday.

Friday evening, June 26, 2020


Test Utah Means Well, But Results Aren’t

Utah tech companies have billed the TestUtah initiative as a charitable effort to increase COVID-19 testing. But Robert Baird, a writer for The New Yorker, said their inexperience has undermined the program’s results. Baird said problems with lab conditions have concerned testing experts and low positive rates from TestUtah compared to other labs have raised concerns that people who had the virus were receiving negative results. Utah recently closed a new request for proposals for COVID-19 testing. For now, though, the state has extended TestUtah’s contract until mid-July. Listen to Baird’s interview with RadioWest’s Doug Fabrizio here. — Emily Means

Utah Sets Record Number Of New COVID Cases

Utah set a record Friday when the health department announced 676 new cases of COVID-19, the most in a single day since the pandemic started. State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn warned that with each new case, the state inches closer to maxing out its hospital capacity. Dunn said in a statement, we need “large-scale behavior change” to reverse the current trend. Utah health officials also announced two more deaths, bringing the state to 166. Both were males over the age of 65 and living in a long term care facility. The state has now seen more than 20,000 cases. And more than 317,000 Utahns have been tested. — Ross Terrell

Utah To Hold Virtual Job Fair

Utah’s Department of Workforce services will hold a virtual job fair next week. The June 30 event is free to attend.The department says more than 80 employers are registered and will advertise more than 1,000 jobs. Utah’s unemployment rate is currently at 8.5%, which is better than the national unemployment rate but still the highest it’s been in years. Virtual job fair attendees must pre-register at The department will also hold a workshop the day before to advise attendees on communicating with employers and navigating the virtual job fair. — Caroline Ballard


Salt Lake County Mask Requirement Goes Into Effect At Midnight

Starting at midnight, people in Salt Lake County will be required to wear face coverings in certain public settings. County Mayor Jenny Wilson tweeted masks will be mandatory while entering and exiting restaurants, at community events, and while shopping. Salt Lake County surpassed 10 thousand cases of COVID-19 Friday and accounts for half of the state’s total. Summit County will also start requiring face coverings in public. — Ross Terrell


Piute Commissioner Compares Gov. Herbert To Hitler 

A Piute County Commissioner is under fire for comparing Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to Adolf Hitler. Commissioner Darin Bushman made the comment in a tweet, because of the governor’s approval for two counties to mandate face coverings in public. Bushman has since deleted the tweet, saying “sorry if you found my tweet offensive.” It has sparked backlash from people across the state, with some calling for his resignation, something Bushman said he has no intention of doing. He declined an interview, saying he’s said what he’s going to say. — LexiPeery, St. George


Tribal Nations Attempt To Shut Down Reservations

A number of tribal nations across our region are continuing to shut down reservation borders and roads in an effort to stop outsiders from coming in and spreading COVID–19. But in South Dakota, that’s drawn the ire of the Trump administration. The Cheyenne River Sioux claimed that, in a veiled threat, the White House implied it would cut its coronavirus funding if the tribe didn’t remove checkpoints on roads leading into the reservation. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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