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PM News Brief: 50,000 Paycheck Protection Loans, Pandemic Outlook & Foreign College Students

Photo of Dixie State Entrance.
Flickr Creative Commons / David Sanborn
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidmoore326/34981348496/in/photostream/
Unless there's a spike in COVID-19 cases, Dixie State University says it likely won't be affected by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ruling that could send foreign college students home if their schools move to online only classes this fall.

Tuesday evening, July 7, 2020

STATE

Stage Is Set For Cox Vs. Peterson

Utah Republicans have selected Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox as their nominee for governor. Cox will now face Democrat and University of Utah law professor Chris Peterson in the general election. Utah hasn’t elected a Democratic governor in 40 years, but Cox told reporters Tuesday he’s not taking a win in November as a given. Peterson said it’s time to break up complete Republican control of the state. The party has held a majority of seats in both houses of the state Legislature and has controlled the governor’s office since the 1980s. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Sees 564 More COVID Cases

Utah health officials reported 564 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. The rate of positive tests for new cases remains right around 7% — a sign that the curve is not flattening. Officials also reported four more deaths, making that 10 in the past two days. Three of the four deaths announced today were men who lived in Salt Lake County. So far, nearly 383,000 people have been tested for the disease. — Ross Terrell

53% Of Utahns Think Worst Of Pandemic Is Still Ahead

The majority of Utahns said they think the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is still ahead. That’s according to a new poll from UtahPolicy.com and KUTV 2News. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they think the worst of the pandemic is still ahead, 29% say the worst is behind us, and 18% say the worst is happening now. Responses largely fell along political party lines. More than 85% of strong Democratic voters say the worst is ahead, compared to just 23% of those who identify as strong Republicans. A researcher who helped conduct the poll said the split is unsurprising, since it reflects differing worldviews about what role the government can play in a pandemic. — Caroline Ballard

Long Term Care Facilities And COVID Testing Requirements

Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill Tuesday that allows long term care facilities, like nursing homes, to discharge residents who don’t get tested for COVID-19 if a local health department requests it. The new law also requires health departments to create protocols to test people in long term care facilities who are at high risk for contracting the virus, which means testing could become mandatory in some facilities. The law took effect immediately. — Sonja Hutson

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Roundup Of Paycheck Protection Program Across The State

The first two rounds of the federal Paycheck Protection Program are in the books. And numbers released from the U.S. Small Business Administration show that nearly 51,000 businesses in Utah received federal aid from the program. That comes to about $5.2 billion worth. The SBA also reported that as of the end of June, money from the program helped save about 800,000 jobs in the state. The Paycheck program has been extended until Aug. 8 and there’s about $131 billion left in the pot for businesses across the U.S. — Ross Terrell

SOUTHERN UTAH

ICE Ruling And Its Effect On Utah’s College Students

Most universities in Utah are planning to offer in-person classes this fall. But new rules from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say if universities move to online only classes, foreign students have to return to their home countries. Shadman Basir, the director of International Student Services at Dixie State University, said as of now, the rules won’t impact the school, but there’s still uncertainty, especially if there’s a spike in COVID-19 cases. If schools are forced to shut down, Basir said he hopes the state leans toward a hybrid model of online and in-person classes. The University of Utah released a statement and said it “plans to do whatever it can under the law” to help foreign students on F-1 visas. The U said if students sign up for at least one hybrid class, that should offer them protection under this rule. — Jessica Lowell

REGION/NATION

New Tool Helps Track Airborne Transmission Of COVID-19 

There’s significant evidence that the novel coronavirus can spread through tiny particles that linger in the air. And now there’s a free tool to help measure those risks. The COVID-19 Airborne Transmission Estimator was created by a researcher in Colorado, and can help determine the risks of activities ranging from taking the bus to choir practice. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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