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PM News Brief: Bridal Veil Falls, Spencer Cox Team & Blood Thinners Study

A photo of Bridal Veil Falls.
Bryant Olsen
/
Flickr
The Provo City Council voted Tuesday night to approve a resolution in support of placing Bridal Veil Falls and its surrounding area under a conservation easement. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, December 2, 2020

Utah

Utah Still Needs To Allocate $2 Million In Federal Relief Funds

The state of Utah still has to allocate about $2 million of federal coronavirus aid that must be spent by the end of the year. Utah has a plan to distribute that money and the Unified Command set up to address the pandemic expects to vote on it next week according to the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. They’re planning to put that money toward helping people pay their rent, as well as contact tracing and testing in K-12 schools. An additional $268 million has already been given to various state programs but not spent yet. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

Co-Diagnostic Facing Lawsuit Over COVID-19 Test Claims

An NPR report found the company that provided COVID-19 tests to TestUtah, is being sued over false claims. Co-Diagnostics said their tests were 100% accurate, which is impossible according to medical experts and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It also found a board member previously pleaded guilty to insurance fraud. Rep. Andrew Stoddard, D-Sandy, said though not perfect, the state’s contracting process does a good job of vetting companies during non-emergency times. “There may be issues that pop up,” Stoddard said. “But I think definitely we've seen that during times of emergency that those can become huge.” Stoddard and two other lawmakers are planning to introduce bills early next year to give the state Legislature more say in emergency contracts. — Sonja Hutson

Spencer Cox Names Eight Appointments For His Administration

Republican Governor-elect Spencer Cox announced eight new appointments for his administration Wednesday, which will take over in early January. Among them is Brittney Cummins, who will be his senior education advisor. She has been on the state board of education for six years. Cox has nominated Sen. Dan Hemmert, R-Orem, to head his office of economic development. And former republican state lawmaker Sophia DiCaro will take over as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Back Over 4,000 COVID-19 Cases

For the first time since Nov. 20, Utah health officials reported more than 4,000 COVID-19 cases in a single day. The state has been seeing a decline in new cases, which officials have largely attributed to a holiday testing slump. Still, 17 more Utahns have died from the disease, pushing the state’s total to more than 900 since the start of the pandemic. There are currently 571 people hospitalized due to COVID-19. — Ross Terrell

IHC Studying Blood Thinners And COVID-19

Intermountain Healthcare announced Wednesday, they are starting to study the effect blood thinners have on people who tested positive for COVID-19. The research is a part of Operation Warp Speed — the federal effort to partner with private companies to find a vaccine and other effective treatment for the novel coronavirus. IHC said they will focus on whether aspirin or other thinners will prevent blood clots in COVID-19 patients who aren’t sick enough to be hospitalized. According to a press release, Intermountain is one of three sites in the U.S. participating in the study. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Provo City Council Votes For Conservation Easement For Bridal Veil Falls

The Provo City Council voted Tuesday night to approve a resolution in support of placing Bridal Veil Falls and its surrounding area under a conservation easement. The move would preserve public access to the popular Utah County destination and prevent development from taking place there. The move is the latest sign of mounting opposition to a project that would build a private rehab lodge and tram at the top of the falls. Ultimately authority over the falls, however, rests with the Utah County Commission. The commission will hold a public hearing on the conservation easement on Dec. 9. — David Fuchs