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PM News Brief: Rabbit Disease, COVID-19 Update & Salt Lake City Emergency Shelter

A photo of a Cottontail rabbit.
Eric Sonstroem
/
Flickr
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said a disease that affects rabbits has been discovered further north in the state than previously thought. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, December 11, 2020

State

Utah Reports “Artificially Low” New Cases Of COVID-19

Utah health officials reported 2,183 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, but they warn that number is artificially low due to system maintenance Thursday night. Any tests that were reported during that time, will be included in Saturday’s count. There are 568 people currently hospitalized from the coronavirus, down 3% compared to last week. Nine more Utahns have died from COVID-19 and seven of them were over the age of 65. — Ross Terrell

Report Finds Cheap Public Land Leases Leads To Lower Revenue

A report released this week by the Government Accountability Office found public land leased to energy developers for $2 or less per acre brought in a tiny fraction of revenue compared to those that sell for more. That’s a good reason to stop leasing low-potential land in Utah to energy producers, according to Jason Keith with Public Lands Solutions. He said those leases are prioritized for drilling, rather than recreation or wildlife management. But leasing public land at low cost increases the likelihood of new discoveries, says Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance. Read the full story.Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Northern Utah

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Found In Uintah County

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said a disease that affects rabbits has been discovered further north in the state than previously thought. The agency found rabbit hemorrhagic disease, or RHDV-2, in wild rabbits in Uintah county. This is the fifth county in Utah to see instances of the disease, after it was first detected in the state earlier this year. RHDV-2 is extremely contagious, and causes bleeding from the mouth or nose, inflammation and eventually death. It is not known to affect people, livestock or any other kind of pet. — Caroline Ballard

Salt Lake City Unveils Plan To Open Emergency Shelter

The Salt Lake County Health Department began clearing out homeless encampments Wednesday, starting downtown in the Rio Grande area. On Friday, the Salt Lake City Council approved a new plan to help the unsheltered, by using a hotel on the city’s west side as an emergency shelter. But the decision was not without critique. While accepted for humanitarian reasons, some council members said it continues a legacy of placing a disproportionate burden on the city’s West Side without giving them enough resources. Read the full story. David Fuchs