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PM News Brief: COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout, Quarantined Employees Grant & Burgess Owens Challenge

A photo of small bottles labeled 'COVID-19 Vaccine' and a needle.
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Utah’s vaccine rollout has been slower than expected. The state hoped to receive over 150,000 doses by now, but is about 25,000 short. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, December 30, 2020

State

Utah COVID-19 Vaccine And Case Count Update

Utah’s vaccine rollout has been slower than expected. The state hoped to receive over 150,000 doses by now, but is about 25,000 short. Rich Lakin, who manages the state’s vaccine program for the Utah Department of Health, said Wednesday the delays have mainly been caused by the federal government shipping out fewer doses than anticipated. But he said Utah’s effort is picking up steam now as local health departments are helping distribute the vaccines. The state is currently focusing on vaccinating healthcare workers outside hospitals, such as EMTs and paramedics. Teachers and school staff should start receiving doses by late January.

Utah health officials reported another 2,614 COVID-19 cases Wednesday and 21 more people have died from the disease. — Jon Reed

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Deadline For “Quarantined Employee” Grant Program Extended

Utah has extended the deadline for small businesses to apply for the state’s “Quarantined Employee” grant program. The $2 million fund reimburses companies that pay their employees to stay home for up to 40 hours a week if they are sick and have to quarantine. Eligible businesses must have less than 50 employees and have at least one worker who has to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 protocols. The fund will cover employees who are asked to stay home from now through the end of January. Businesses must apply for the grant by Feb. 15. — Ross Terrell

Burgess Owens Joining Effort To Overturn Presidential Election

Republican Utah Congressman-elect Burgess Owens is supporting a Louisiana representative’s attempt to block the certification of the presidential election results. That’s according to a report from Fox News. President Donald Trump and other Republicans have alleged that President-elect Joe Biden won because of massive voter fraud. But there is no evidence to support that claim and dozens of related lawsuits have been thrown out. Fox News reports 10 incoming representatives, including Owens, are supporting the long-shot effort. — Sonja Hutson