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AM News Brief: Meat-Packing Outbreaks, Washington County School Plan & U Dorms Test For COVID

Photo of Dixie High School in Washington County.
Wikimedia Commons
The Washington County Board of Education has unanimously approved its reopening plan for the fall. The plan adheres to the governor’s mandate requiring face masks in schools. That story and more in this morning's news brief.";

Tuesday morning, July 28, 2020


COVID Deaths In Utah

Seven more Utahns have died due to COVID-19. Health officials announced Monday that the six men and one woman were all either hospitalized or in a long-term care facility at the time of their death. A total of 281 people in Utah have lost their life due to the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. According to the Department of Health, the state has averaged 544 new daily cases for the past week. That is still above the governor’s goal of 500 cases a day, which he hopes the state will get to by August 1. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.


With Public Restrooms Limited, Portable Toilets Installed In City Neighborhood

Two portable restrooms opened Monday for people experiencing homelessness across the street from Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many city buildings, along with other public bathrooms, have closed. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said as a result, more people are using sidewalks and alleyways to relieve themselves, and they deserve a clean, private place to use the bathroom. The portable restrooms in the Ballpark neighborhood are staffed with attendants who are tasked with cleaning them in between uses and ensuring only one person at a time goes in. But Shelley Bodily, who lives near the location, said she’s concerned the attendants won’t be able to enforce those rules very well, and that could lead to criminal behavior.Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

City Expands Racial Equity In Policing Commission

Salt Lake City has added 13 members to a commission charged with advising the police department on issues around race. The Racial Equity in Policing Commission was created in June in response to protests against police violence. Among the diverse group of new members are two people with law enforcement experience. Steve Anjewierden and Mariana Suarez both retired from the Unified Police Department. The commission will deliver monthly reports on policies, programs and culture to the Mayor and City Council, as well as a final report with recommendations for the Salt Lake City Police Department on July 1, 2021. — Elaine Clark

U Dorms Testing For COVID

The University of Utah is requiring every student who’ll be living in the dorms to get a COVID-19 test before they’ll be allowed to pick up their keys. The first step is filling out a testing consent form, and the deadline for that is Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Administrators also said that anyone experiencing symptoms should not come to campus, and that people with symptoms will not be allowed to move into University housing. — Elaine Clark


Washington County Will Return To School

The Washington County Board of Education has unanimously approved its reopening plan for the fall. The plan adheres to the governor’s mandate requiring face masks in schools. During a public hearing Monday night though, several parents expressed concerns about face coverings and asked the board to fight against the governor’s orders. The district’s superintendent says the plan is fluid and will be open to change, once the governor’s mandate allows for exceptions. — Lexi Peery, St. George


Physical Stress Can Accelerate Memory Loss

A new study from Colorado State University says that physical stress related to employment can accelerate brain aging and memory loss. The study looked at brain imaging data from people in various jobs. It found that those who reported high levels of physical stress in their most recent jobs had smaller hippocampi. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that's critical for memory. Participants also performed worse on memory tasks. The study's examples of physical stress at work include excessive reaching and lifting boxes onto shelves and not necessarily aerobic activity. — Jenny Brundin, Colorado Public Radio

Understanding Outbreaks At Meat-Packing Plants

Meat-packing plants are under intense scrutiny as workers around the country and our region continue to face COVID-19 outbreaks. But that data largely came from local news reports. Companies don’t often say how many people are sick, which recently vexed Democratic senators who asked for the information. Employees can sue for compensation for getting sick, but recent proposals could protect companies like meat packing plants from that liability. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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