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PM News Brief: Record 2,807 COVID-19 Cases, Sanpete County Voters & Modified Lockdown

A photo of Angela Dunn and Gary Herbert.
Kristin Murphy
Deseret News
Utah has a new COVID-19 single day case record: 2,807. There are also 389 people currently hospitalized for the disease — another high mark. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, November 5, 2020


Governor-elect Spencer Cox Announces Transition Team

Governor-elect Spencer Cox, announced several members of his transition team this morning. The lieutenant governor’s interim chief of staff Jon Pierpont will become his chief of staff as governor. And former Salt Lake Tribune Executive Editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce, who left the paper in August, will be his communications director. Cox said his transition committee, which currently has more than 25 members, will conduct a review of the state’s government agencies. As for the coronavirus pandemic, Cox said he’ll focus on increasing rapid testing. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

Positive Trends In Utah’s Unemployment

Nearly 3,900 Utahns filed for new, traditional unemployment benefits during the last week of October. That’s according to numbers released Thursday by the department of Workforce Services and just slightly down from the week before. Department officials said they’re seeing positive trends as new claims have fallen for the past three weeks — and continued filings have fallen for the past 26 weeks. — Ross Terrell

Utah Sets New COVID-19 Record With 2,807 Cases

Utah has a new COVID-19 single day case record: 2,807. There are also 389 people currently hospitalized for the disease — another high mark. Gov. Gary Herbert said he’s had emergency meetings with legislative leadership and will share more information next week on additional steps the state plans on taking to help slow the surge in cases. Officials also announced Thursday, Millard County will move from the high transmission level to moderate. — Ross Terrell

Northern/Central Utah

State Prison Facilities Under A Modified Lockdown

Two Utah Department of Corrections facilities are on “modified lockdown” in response to COVID-19 outbreaks. A department spokesperson said the state prison in Draper is experiencing its second outbreak, while the Central Utah facility in Gunnison is having its first. They said the prison is working with state and local health departments to separate people who have the virus from those who test negative. As of Tuesday, the Draper prison had 269 active COVID-19 cases and the Gunnison facility had 21. — Emily Means

Summit County Clerk To Resume Counting Ballots

Summit County clerk employees are back in the office today after testing negative for COVID-19. A staff member came into close contact with someone who tested positive for the disease, and the county announced Monday the entire office was in quarantine. Employees had already processed about 18,000 ballots before they quarantined, and started working Thursday on the 8,000 that remained. The county clerk expects to finish by the end of the day on Friday. — Sonja Hutson

Southern/Central Utah

Sanpete County Misprinted Ballots Had No Measurable Impact On Voter Turnout

Voters in Sanpete County are on track to meet or exceed a turnout of nearly 89% — a county record set in 2016. The result comes as welcome news to Sanpete County Clerk Sandy Neill. In the run-up to this year’s election, a contractor sent out misprinted ballots to more than 11,000 residents. Neill said it feels good knowing that the printing error had no measurable effect on turnout in her county, despite causing widespread confusion and leading to hundreds more people than usual insisting on voting in person. — David Fuchs


Exit Poll Finds COVID-19 Not A Top Issue For Most Voters

It’s been a grueling eight months for public health officials trying to persuade the public of the seriousness of COVID-19. But election exit polls suggest millions of voters are more concerned with other issues. In an exit poll by the Washington Post, only 17% of voters said the pandemic was the most important issue in their vote for president. Meanwhile, local officials and medical experts in our region continue to grapple with how to best inform a skeptical public as hospitalizations and fatalities rise dramatically. In Casper, Wyoming that came to a head this week at a public meeting. A slate of officials and medical experts were shouted down as they tried to inform the public about their concerns and the meeting was abruptly halted. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Arrest Made In Mexico Massacre Of Independent Mormons

Authorities in Mexico said they have arrested a man in connection to the massacre of nine women and children one year ago. The victims were shot and killed in their cars on a highway. They were dual citizens of the U.S. and Mexico and members of a group of Independent Mormons living in the Mexican state of Sonora. Some of them had ties to families in Utah. The man, identified by CNN as “Alfredo L.” was arrested in Ciudad Juarez, and is said to be a member of a criminal group. — Caroline Ballard

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