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PM News Brief: 2020 Wind Storm, COVID-19 In Schools & Pandemic Childcare

Photo of a car with a downed tree laying on top of it.
Brian Albers/KUER
A storm system moving through the Wasatch Front from Canada caused hurricane- force winds to hit many parts of northern Utah Tuesday morning. That story and more in this evening’s news brief.

Tuesday evening, September 8, 2020

Northern Utah

Northern Utah Windstorm Explained

A storm system moving through the Wasatch Front from Canada caused hurricane-force winds to hit many parts of northern Utah Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The system brought a cold front with it, which, colliding with hot weather, created gusts up to 99 mph. Cold fronts like that aren’t unusual in winter, but they are for this time of year. The NWS said it’s not clear though if the storm is the result or a sign of climate change. — Jon Reed

Resources For The Unsheltered Population

Utah’s state and local officials are continuing to assess the damage from Tuesday’s wind storm. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said there were a few injuries but so far, no fatalities as a result of the storm. He said the state is calling on Utahns to help their neighbors — especially the most vulnerable. To help people experiencing homelessness, Salt Lake City has opened an emergency shelter at the Sorenson Unity Center. Salt Lake County has also set up four warming centers. But County Mayor Jenny Wilson said it can be difficult to connect unsheltered people with resources because they’re sometimes unwilling to come into shelters. — Emily Means

Windstorm Of 2011 Remembered

The last time a wind storm of this magnitude ripped through the Wasatch Front was in 2011. Then, much like Tuesday, hurricane-force winds made their way through the valley, causing extensive damage. Kiana Arche has lived in Salt Lake City for 33 years and said her experience in 2011 was much different than what she saw Tuesday. “It was a little bit hectic but nothing like this,” Arche said. “I know some buildings lose some of the shingles and stuff like that, some of the branches went down, but this time is totally different.” She said this doesn’t compare to hurricanes she’s lived through in Mexico, but still, she feels for people who have had their houses and cars damaged. — Ross Terrell

Keep Sick Kids Home From School

Salt Lake County is urging parents to keep kids home from school who are sick or who have been exposed to someone who is. Since school began in late August, the county has identified 34 outbreaks of COVID-19 at K-12 schools with 150 positive cases. The county health department said students have been showing up to school when they were supposed to be quarantined, and in order to continue in-person classes, people need to follow the rules: If students have been in close contact with a positive case, they are asked to quarantine for 14 days and to get tested. — Caroline Ballard

State

Utah COVID Update

Utah health officials reported another 326 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. Still, the state’s positivity rate remains just above 9%. The seven day average for new cases has climbed to 420 cases and has increased steadily for the past three days. Officials also reported one more person has died due to the disease, a male older than 85 who was a long term care facility resident. In fact, 420 of these facilities have now had at least one case of COVID-19 and 188 people living in them have died. — Ross Terrell

New Grant Program To Assist With Childcare

Utah’s Department of Workforce Services has launched a new grant program to help families with childcare in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The School Age Grant Program provides funding to licensed centers and other state approved locations to help them care for more children. DWS officials said even though many students are learning remotely, they want to make sure families have a place for their kids when class is out for the day. In order to get the funding, child care centers must have formally supervised programs for kids ages five through 12, keep group sizes to 20 or below and prioritize students of essential employees or who qualify for free and reduced lunch. — Ross Terrell

Lawsuit Filed Over State Virus Restrictions

A group in Utah has filed a lawsuit alleging restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic infringe on their rights. The lawsuit filed against the governor and Utah’s Department of Health last week asks that a judge nullify all state executive orders related to the coronavirus pandemic. UDOH reported that as of Tuesday, the state has had more than 55,000 confirmed cases, over 3,000 hospitalizations and 424 deaths as a result of COVID-19. — Associated Press

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