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PM News Brief: Another COVID Record, Salt Lake City Flag Finalists & Sim Gill On Protest

Eight flag designs cropped into one image
Flag design images via SLC.gov
Eight designs have been selected as finalists for Salt Lake City's new flag. Residents have from Friday until Aug. 21 to weigh in on the new designs, and officials plan to adopt a new flag Sept. 16."

Friday evening, July 10, 2020

STATE

Utah’s Health Care Community Worried About COVID Surge

Utah’s medical community is calling on state officials to mandate wearing face masks in public. In a press conference Friday, representatives from the state’s largest health care systems said they’re concerned about recent spikes in coronavirus case numbers, and worry the state’s hospitals — currently at about 72% capacity — could soon be overrun. Gov. Gary Herbert announced Thursday that masks will be required in schools this fall, but he stopped short of a statewide mandate. Health care officials said that isn’t enough to slow the spread of the virus, and threatens the state’s ability to get the economy back on track. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Utah Sets A New COVID Record: 867 Cases Reported Friday

For the second time this week, Utah has set a single day record for new COVID-19 cases. On Friday, health officials reported an increase of 867 cases and the first case on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. Officials also reported two more deaths, bringing the state to 207. Utah’s epidemiologist Angela Dunn released a statement Friday saying hospitals and the state’s high risk population need our cooperation in practicing social distancing and good hygiene. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

 

NORTHER UTAH

Salt Lake City Council Holds Its First AMA On Police Budget

The Salt Lake City Council held what they said was their first ever ask-me-anything meeting Friday. They addressed lingering concerns about the police budget. Council Chair Chris Wharton said the full budget is already approved, but they are hoping to work with the mayor’s office to use feedback from the community to widen their process to address racism and systemic inequality. The council voted last month to cut about 6% from police funding. The money will likely still be allocated to police functions for things like additional training and body cameras, but the funds will be controlled through a non-departmental account. — Jessica Lowell

Sim Gill Comments On Salt Lake City Protests

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill is condemning vandalism of his office building during Thursday night’s protest over the police killing of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal. Gill announced Thursday morning that he had cleared the two officers involved. In a statement released Friday, Gill called damage to his office building “an unlawful and irresponsible disregard for civic dialogue and community collaboration.” Protesters painted the street in front of the building red, hung posters and smeared red paint on the doors and windows. Salt Lake Police said some windows were also broken. Gill said he would continue to work to earn the trust of local communities, and hoped the vandalism would not overshadow that work. — Sonja Hutson

Elite Eight: Salt Lake City Flag Finalists Selected

Eight designs have been selected as finalists for Salt Lake City’s new flag. And, starting Friday, residents can weigh in on which ones they like best. Some flags are simpler in design, like one with just a white and blue horizontal stripe representing the Great Salt Lake and the snowy mountains. Others are more complex, including one that shows three mountains under a red sky, with a four pointed star in each one, over a horizontal blue band. The public has until Aug. 21 to weigh in on the designs and a new flag is scheduled to be adopted Sept. 16. — Ross Terrell

President Trump Approves Major Disaster Declaration For Magna Earthquake 

President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Utah’s March 18 earthquake. The declaration makes federal funding available to state and local governments, as well as people affected by the earthquake in Salt Lake and Davis counties. Individuals can get money to cover home repairs, temporary housing, or any damaged property not covered by insurance. Small businesses are also eligible for up to $2 million in loans. State and local governments can get up to 75% of the cost of responding to the earthquake reimbursed by the federal government. — Sonja Hutson

SOUTHERN UTAH

Rob Bishop Attempts To Slow Passage Of Great American Outdoors Act

Republican Congressman Rob Bishop has temporarily blocked passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which would guarantee full annual funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The bill was scheduled for a vote in the House before the 4th of July, but Bishop raised concerns about an obscure provision that was left out of the legislation, and that held up the vote. Still, the bill is likely to pass as it has already cleared the Senate. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

REGION/NATION

States Across Mountain West Facing Testing Shortages As COVID Spikes

Some communities in the Mountain West are again facing testing delays and shortages as the number of COVID–19 cases reach record highs across the country. The reasons why are complicated but the federal government has been slow to approve new laboratories to expand testing. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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