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AM News Brief: Bilingual Contact Tracers, Monolith Clues & County Calls For Bears Ears Restoration

Photo of Bears Ears Buttes.
Erik Neumann
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The San Juan County commission voted to pass a resolution Tuesday asking President-elect Joe Biden to restore Bears Ears National Monument. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, December 2, 2020

Northern Utah

As Eviction Protections Expire, Applications For Help Increase

Programs designed to keep people in their houses during the coronavirus pandemic are ending as 2020 comes to a close. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium and a Utah rental assistance program are timing out, and housing advocates are concerned that a wave of people will lose their housing after that. The Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership has given out $1.7 million in housing aid to nearly 800 households in Weber County since May, and they said they’ve recently had an increase in applications for help. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Southern Utah

San Juan County Commission Calls For Bears Ears Restoration

The San Juan County commission voted to pass a resolution Tuesday asking President-elect Joe Biden to restore Bears Ears National Monument. Commissioners Kenneth Maryboy and Willie Grayeyes, who are both Navajo, voted in favor of the legislation. Commissioner Bruce Adams voted against the resolution saying the national monument shouldn’t be a priority. “I think there’s a lot more that needs to be done to help the Navajo people than play political games,” Adams said. Biden has indicated he will restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments once he takes office. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Monolith Clues

New clues have surfaced in the disappearance of a gleaming monolith in Utah that disappeared as mysteriously as it appeared in the red-rock desert. A Colorado photographer said he saw four men push over the hollow, stainless steel structure Friday night. Authorities have said they aren't planning an investigation but that they would accept tips from the hundreds of visitors who trekked out to see the structure that attracted international attention. A similar object has been spotted in Romania and has also since disappeared. — Associated Press

Region/Nation

Navajo Nation Identifies “Uncontrolled Community Spread”

The Navajo Nation reported 104 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths on Tuesday. The Navajo Department of Health has identified 75 communities on the reservation with uncontrolled community spread. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the curve could be flattening slightly but any impact of the Thanksgiving holiday has yet to be seen. Residents are under a stay-at-home order, with an exception for essential workers and essential needs such as food, medication and emergencies. — Associated Press

Bilingual Contact Tracing

COVID-19 contract tracers continue to be in short supply, and that’s especially true for bilingual ones. According to health officials in Nevada, bilingual contract tracers are working seven days a week for nearly 10-14 hours a day. Diane Sande with the University of Nevada, Reno’s Public Health Training Center said they also face pushback from people in the Latino community who do not want to share information because of their distrust of the government. She said some of that distrust comes from a lack of Spanish public health messaging. Most public health resources are translated from English rather than written in Spanish which Sande said is not an effective way to reach a community. — Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau

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