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AM News Brief: Hospitalizations Climb, Five States Remove Slavery & Teeter-Totter In UT-4

hospital busy surgery corridor
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Sunday marked the eighth day in a row that Utah broke its record for the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19. This story and more in the Monday morning news brief.

Monday morning, November 9, 2020

State

Statewide Mask Mandate

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced a new state of emergency Sunday in response to rising COVID-19 cases throughout the state. Herbert and the Utah Department of Health have issued executive and public health orders because of overcrowding at hospitals. The orders limit gatherings to households until Nov. 23 and put a statewide mask mandate into place indefinitely. They also put a pause on extracurricular activities for K-12 students. The orders go into effect starting at 1 p.m. Monday. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Hospitalizations Still Climbing

Sunday marked the eighth day in a row that Utah broke its record for the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19. The Department of Health reported that 424 people are currently being treated in the hospital, and of those 170 are in intensive care. Hospitals are strained with more than three-quarters of all ICU beds occupied across the state. Over the weekend, officials reported ten deaths and more than 5,300 new cases of COVID-19. — Elaine Clark

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Utah And Four Other States Remove Slavery

Months of discussions about racial justice are being followed by change at the ballot box. Utah was one of five states where voters decided to cleanse the public sphere of words and symbols that to many were painful reminders of the nation's history of slavery and the systematic oppression of Black people. Alabama, Nevada and Utah will remove sections from their constitutions dealing with slavery or racial oppression. Rhode Island changed its official name to remove the word "plantations." And Mississippi approved a new state flag without a Confederate symbol. Experts say the votes are likely linked to changing attitudes following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. — Associated Press

Northern Utah

Teeter-Totter In Utah’s 4th District

In the race for Utah’s 4th Congressional District, Republican Burgess Owens has pulled back ahead by almost 700 votes. As of Saturday afternoon Owens has 47.6% of the vote and the Democratic incumbent, Representative Ben McAdams, has about 47.4%. The race has been swinging back and forth between the two candidates for days. In 2018 McAdams won by just under 700 votes. Either campaign could request a recount if the final tallies are within 0.25% of each other. — Sonja Hutson

Southern Utah

Grand County (And A Little Bit Of Provo) Turns Blue
In 2016, Grand County went for Trump. But in 2020, it flipped for Biden. Joe Biden only won around 800 more votes in Grand County this year than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. But it was enough to turn the southeastern Utah county blue. The shift is likely due to changing demographics, which has led the county to become more progressive. Meanwhile, in Provo, five voting precincts turned blue this election. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Region/Nation

Romney Sees No Evidence Of Election Fraud

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, was the first member of Utah’s congressional delegation to congratulate Democrat Joe Biden on winning the presidential election Saturday. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Romney said President Donald Trump had every right to call for a recount, but he should choose his words carefully. He said the world is watching what the president says, “and it’s important for the cause of democracy and freedom that we don’t allege fraud and theft unless there’s very clear evidence of that. And at this stage, evidence hasn’t been produced.” Romney said he would work with Biden on issues like health care and taxes, though he would still fight for conservative values in the Senate. — Emily Means

Navajo Nation COVID-Case Tops 12,500

The Navajo Nation saw a total 372 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths from Friday through Sunday. The case count is now more than 12,500 with 593 deaths as of Sunday. The Nation another just completed another weekend curfew, and President Jonathan Nez is urging residents to stay home given the numbers of COVID-19 cases surrounding the reservation in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. — Diane Maggipinto