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AM News Brief: Extreme Litter, U Dorm Precautions & Assessing Earthquake Damages

Photo of trash.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
In northern Utah, the Division of Wildlife officials are finding litter pretty much every day, and people have been illegally dumping trash at least once a month. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, July 23, 2020

Northern Utah

Extreme Litter

Mounds of trash and debris have been appearing on public lands in Utah. In northern Utah, the Division of Wildlife officials are finding litter pretty much every day, and people have been illegally dumping trash at least once a month, according to Mark Hadley with the Division of Wildlife’s Northern Region. Hadley said the trash is not only an eyesore, but it can also be hazardous for animals that can get trapped in plastic litter. And leftover food can attract some animals, like bears, to campgrounds. He said the division also has to clean the trash, so it wastes resources that could be spent helping wildlife. — Jessica Lowell

Assessing Earthquake Damages

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is assessing damage from the March and April earthquakes remotely. FEMA is trying to comply with social distancing during the pandemic. The agency is calling Utahns who applied for disaster relief and inspecting homes in Salt Lake and Davis counties over the phone. After the initial phone call, the agency will follow up based on the level of damage. The priority is to assist people who can't live at their homes due to the earthquake. Those who suffered minor damage may not receive immediate assistance. Utahns can apply for help online. — Roddy Nikpour

Housing Program Finds Success In Pandemic

Salt Lake County’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Hotel Program is for people who are experiencing homelessness and are particularly vulnerable during the pandemic, like older individuals or those with medical conditions. The county has rented out a hotel and also provides participants support from case workers and mental health experts. Twenty-nine people have been connected with more permanent housing after going through the program, which has been extended through the end of August. Read the full story. — Emily Means

State Reports 10 COVID Deaths

Utah health officials reported 566 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. And for the second time since the pandemic started, officials announced 10 new deaths in a single day. Only three people were hospitalized at the time of their death. Six were residents of long-term care facilities. The other person was a male between the ages of 18-24 who was not hospitalized. So far, Utah has seen 35,578 cases since early March. More than 481,402 people have been tested. — Ross Terrell

U Dorm Precautions

Before they move into their dorms this fall, students at the University of Utah must take a free COVID-19 test. The university released this direction Wednesday. People who test positive will quarantine in separate rooms for 10 to 14 days. Dorm residents also have to wear masks outside their room, and they can’t bring guests inside the building. Students have until Tuesday to cancel their housing contract. — Jessica Lowell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Region/Nation

Navajo Weekend Lockdown Continues

The Navajo Nation has extended its weekend lockdown through August 3. The 57-hour shutdowns go into effect Fridays at 8 p.m. and end Mondays at 5 a.m. New cases on the Utah portion of the Nation have slowed down in recent weeks. Still, the case rate is about 6 times higher than the rest of the state. Health officials have reported more than 8,684 cases across the entire Navajo reservation. — Ross Terrell

Counting People Of Color

More than 700,000 people of color are at risk of being under counted in the Census this year, and that’s just in the Mountain West according to a new analysis from Headwaters Economics. The analysis says people are more likely to be missed if they live in dense urban or remote rural environments, are experiencing homelessness, or distrust the government. — Noah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau

Home Sales Soar

The economy may be on life support due to COVID–19, but housing sales across the nation soared in June. According to a report out Wednesday from the industry group the National Association of Realtors, housing sales jumped 20% nationwide compared to sales in May. But housing sales were still 11% lower compared to last year. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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