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PM News Brief: COVID-19 Cases Up, Meth Bust & Roads At Arches National Park

A photo of a man inspecting a tire of a white truck.
Arches National Park Twitter
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Arches National Park has closed the Devils Garden campground until March because of a water leak. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, December 29, 2020

State

COVID-19 Cases Up After Holiday Lull

The state saw another spike in COVID-19 cases Tuesday following a slowdown in testing over the holiday. Health officials reported 2,736 news cases and 16 deaths — including a Salt Lake County resident younger than 45-years-old. About a quarter of all tests come back positive, which suggests community transmission remains high. The state has also been vaccinating an average of about 1,300 people a day since the state received its first doses earlier this month. More than 20,000 people have been vaccinated so far. — Jon Reed

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Bill Would Sign Utah On To Prison Rape Prevention Standards

Utah is one of only two states that has not signed on to a federal set of prison standards to prevent and respond to sexual assault and harassment in correctional facilities. But state Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, plans to sponsor a bill early next year to change that. The Prison Rape Elimination Act creates rules like a zero tolerance policy and offering survivors a free forensic medical examination to collect evidence. Gov. Gary Herbert sent a letter to the Department of Justice in 2014 declining to join the program because he said the required audit process was too burdensome and he wanted more flexibility. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Northern Utah

Traffic Stop Results In Meth Bust

Federal authorities said a routine traffic stop in Provo in October resulted in the discovery of 20 pounds of meth. Alan Jose Elizondo Gurrola was stopped by a Provo Police patrol officer after he failed to stop when turning right at a red light. In a complaint approved by the United States Attorney’s office, the officer said Gurrola looked nervous and gave conflicting information. The Office of the United States Attorney said it will pursue a felony charge of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

Arches Sees Closures

Arches National Park has closed the Devils Garden campground until March because of a water leak. The Park Road had also been closed Monday due to weather. It is now open to all cars, though there are still icy conditions. Officials there caution visitors to be prepared for changing weather. Much of the park remains open, including trails and the park store. But visitors are still required to wear a mask when six feet or closer to anyone they don’t live with. — Jon Reed