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AM News Brief: Rabid Bats, Fake COVID Cures & Teachers Ask For School Delay

Photo of a bat.
Wikimedia Commons
The Utah Department of Health is reminding people not to interact with bats, and to get their pets vaccinated for rabies. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, July 29, 2020

State

Teachers Ask For School Delay

The Utah Education Association is asking the governor to delay the start of public schools this fall. Heidi Matthews, president of the association, said schools should wait until COVID-19 cases start to decline in the state. Matthews said Utah can’t guarantee a safe reopening without resources like masks and paid sick leave for educators. Classes are currently set to resume in all counties in the state this fall with a hybrid model of both in-person and online classes. — Jessica Lowell

Tuesday Report Shows 446 New COVID Cases

More than 300 hundred long-term care facilities in Utah have had at least one case of COVID-19, and residents of these facilities make up about 45% of deaths in the state. Health officials announced Tuesday three more people living at these locations died due to COVID. Officials also reported 446 new cases of the disease — bringing Utah to nearly 38,855 total cases. About two-thirds of people have recovered. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Roll Cameras

With big crews and lots of moving parts, it can be hard to maintain social distance on a film set. Because of that, film production has been one of the hardest hit industries during the coronavirus pandemic and one of the slowest to return. But over the last few months, in Utah, it’s begun to show signs of life. Safety guidelines issued both by the Utah Film Commission and an industry-wide task force have helped standardize the process somewhat. Film sets have also been hiring a new position on sets, like a dedicated COVID-19 monitor who consults on virus detection and prevention. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Rabid Bats

The Utah Department of Health is reminding people not to interact with bats, and to get their pets vaccinated for rabies. Bats often carry rabies and other diseases and can nest in homes and attics. So far this year, 44 bats have been tested in Utah for rabies and four have tested positive. The department says people often have to put down pets because they were not vaccinated, then exposed to rabies, and the carrier hadn’t been tested. It’s recommended to stay away from wild animals, especially those who seem unafraid of humans, and to seal cracks and gaps where bats could possibly enter your house. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

Utah County Commissioner Called To Fort Benning

Utah County Commissioner Tanner Ainge has received orders to attend a six-week National Guard Training at Fort Benning in Georgia this summer, but he plans to keep doing his official county responsibilities remotely. Though Utah state code does allow for elected officials to take military leave, Ainge says in this instance it would trigger the need for an interim election process. Instead, the National Guard has agreed to make accommodations so that he can attend public meetings by phone or video and perform other duties. In his letter to Utah County, Ainge also asked that they only pay him a third of his salary while he’s away. — Elaine Clark

Charges In Fake Coronavirus Cure Case

A Utah county resident faces seven federal charges for attempting to sell a fake cure for COVID-19. A lawsuit alleges Gordon Pedersen tried selling a variety of silver products like soap and gel as a possible cure to the disease. Pedersen is also accused of dressing up as a doctor in promotional videos. He has been indicted on counts of mail and wire fraud and for introducing misbranded drugs. Utahns are encouraged to report any suspected COVID-19 fraud schemes to the National Center for Disaster Fraud. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

Cowboy Up, Mask Up

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, wearing a mask is still controversial within some conservative, Western communities. That’s prompted one doctor to write an op-ed in local newspapers telling libertarian-minded folks to ‘cowboy up and mask up.’ He was inspired by the Cowboy Code of Ethics, which tells people to stop complaining and ride for the brand. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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