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AM News Brief: Weber Business Grants, The 'Anthropause' & COVID Among Utah's Pacific Islanders

Photo of the Wasatch mountains covered in snow.
Brian Albers
/
KUER
Human activity in most of the world has slowed down thanks to the pandemic. Wildlife scientists say it’s created a unique opportunity to study how we affect animals. This and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.";

Wednesday morning, July 1, 2020

State

Utah’s Pacific Islander Community Hit By COVID

State data indicate the coronavirus outbreak has disproportionately affected Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians living in Utah. The groups make up 1.6% of Utah's population but account for 3.8% of reported cases of COVID-19. Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians have experienced the highest hospitalization rate among ethnic groups in Utah, the second highest rate of confirmed cases overall and the highest rate of confirmed cases in Salt Lake County.

Utah's COVID-19 total case count now tops 22,000, after 553 new positives were added to the total yesterday Tuesday. Health officials also reported four more deaths, bringing the state to 172. While they varied in age and county residency, all four people were hospitalized at the time of their death. So far, more than 340,000 Utahns have been tested for the disease. And officials estimate over 12,000 people have recovered. — Ross Terrell & Diane Maggipinto

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

Money For Weber County Businesses

Weber County will be giving around $12 million of federal CARES Act money to local businesses that have lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials announced the grant funding during a press conference Tuesday. Businesses that qualify can get between $2,000-35,000 in assistance. Applications for the grant money open July 6, and officials said they hope to award money by the last week in July. Businesses in Ogden and Harrisville are not eligible for the funding through Weber County, but the cities will have their own grant programs. — Jessica Lowell

Controversial Weber State Professor Resigns — Again

A professor has reversed himself again and resigned from Weber State University after posting inflammatory tweets about nationwide protests concerning race and police use of force. Weber officials confirm criminal justice professor Scott Senjo has now permanently resigned. He had stepped down early last month but changed his mind and withdrew that resignation shortly after. The university had condemned Senjo's tweets as "abhorrent." Senjo tweeted support for damage to CNN headquarters in late May. He also commented on a post about a police car driving into protesters, saying he would have driven it differently. — Associated Press

Southern Utah

Masks In Moab

Visitors to Moab may have to start wearing masks. The Grand County Council voted Tuesday to ask the governor for permission to implement the new rule. The measure passed 5 to 2, with the council’s most conservative members voting against it. Grand County still needs permission from the governor’s office in order to implement the policy, which would require people wear masks inside all public places and businesses. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

Navajo Nation Asks Visitors To Stay Away Over Holiday

Weekend lockdowns on the Navajo Nation will remain in place, as COVID-19 cases rise in towns bordering the reservation. Navajo President Jonathan Nez said Tuesday the curfews will continue through July 27 and asked people not to visit the Navajo Nation for the Fourth of July holiday. The infection rate on the Nation peaked in May and has begun to level out, with about 50 or 60 new cases reported most days, but recent spikes in Arizona have Navajo officials worried that the infection rate could increase if people travel to and from the reservation. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Pandemic Offers Unique Research Opportunity

Human activity in most of the world has slowed down thanks to the pandemic. Wildlife scientists say it’s created a unique opportunity to study how we affect animals. This phenomenon is being called the “anthropause” and scientists say it will allow them to come up with land use management recommendations that work for humans and animals. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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