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PM Brief: Shifting COVID response, LGBTQ healthcare leaders & wildfire season breaks

Photo of sign with arrow directing to covid testing site.
Tricia Bobeda
Utah's health department announced Monday several testing sites will permanently close at the end of the month. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Monday, March 28, 2022


Utah phasing out its COVID-19 emergency response

Utah is starting to phase out of its COVID-19 emergency response. The state’s health department announced Monday several testing sites will permanently close at the end of the month. It’s a part of the governor’s plan to move toward a “steady state” approach. Health officials reported just 255 new cases since Friday. Utah’s positivity rate is also below 3%. The health department will also update its COVID dashboard just once a week starting at the end of March. — Ross Terrell 

Utahns in support of governor’s plan to move to “steady state” COVID response

A new poll from the Deseret News and Hinckley Institute of Politics shows 77% of Utahns support the governor’s plan to treat COVID-19 like other diseases with limited outbreaks — like the flu. It also found that 40% of Utah residents think it’ll take at least a year for life to get back to normal. The poll came about a month after Gov. Spencer Cox announced in February the state would be shifting away from an emergency response to COVID by the end of March. Utah is currently averaging 116 new cases a day, down from more than 7,000 two months ago. — Sudha Reynolds 

Utah hospitals identified as LGBTQ equality leaders 

Eighteen Utah hospitals have been designated as “2022 LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Facilities were scored on how inclusive their policies are. “Leaders” received top scores in LGBTQ patient centered care, employee benefits, patient support and community engagement. About 55% of participating hospitals were designated as “Leaders,” including Intermountain Spanish Fork, University of Utah, St. George Regional and LDS Hospital. Another six facilities in the state were rated as top performers. — Caroline Ballard 

Northern Utah

“A Counting” art project makes its way to Ogden 

A traveling art piece from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is creating a vocal portrait of Ogden. It's called “A Counting” and invites people to call in and record themselves counting to 100. Ekene Ijeoma and his group Poetic Justice created the piece in response to the 2020 U.S. Census. He said it's historically misrepresented the country’s true diversity. "That led us to think about what it means to count and who counts,” he said. “It came to, well if we could count to a hundred, which is a whole [number], using all the languages that are spoken in the US, that that could be a better representation of our society.” Ogden is the fifth city in the nation to participate in the project. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez


West seeing fewer breaks from wildfire season 

A seasonal break from wildfires is disappearing in the West. A wildfire started this Saturday near Boulder, Colorado. It forced thousands of evacuations over the weekend, reminding people of what had just happened three months ago: the Marshall Fire, which burned down more than 1,000 homes. Experts say there are no longer fire seasons, just fire years. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau 

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