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PM News Brief: COVID-19 Record To End The Year, Navajo President Vaccinated & DUI Warning

A photo of a man getting vaccinated.
Courtesy Jonathan Nez via Twitter
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez received the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday morning at a hospital in Gallup, New Mexico. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, December 31, 2020

State

Utah Sets New COVID-19 Case Record To End 2020

Utah health officials reported a record 4,672 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. It’s the first time the state has seen more than 4,000 cases in a single day since Dec. 2 and the second time in the month of December. Thirteen more people have died from COVID-19. Officials said Thursday’s case count is a “sobering reminder that we are still in this battle.” With schools and universities set to reopen soon, they are urging people to do their part to make sure that happens smoothly. The health department also reported around 6,000 more vaccines have been administered. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Catch Up On Amendments And Bills Going Into Effect New Year’s Day

All seven constitutional amendments that Utah voters approved in November take effect Jan. 1, including one that removes slavery as an acceptable punishment for a crime and one that allows tax revenue earmarked for education to be spent on programs that help children and people with disabilities. The companion bill to the education amendment also goes into effect: it creates a stabilization fund and requires the Legislature to adjust per-pupil funding for inflation each year. Also going into effect is a law that requires schools to do annual school bus inspections, instead of the Utah Highway Patrol. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Highway Patrol Warns Against Driving Under The Influence

While New Year’s Eve celebrations will likely look a lot different Thursday night, the message from the Utah Highway Patrol and State Trooper Chris Bishop is the same: Don’t drive under the influence. “Start your new year off right, drive sober,” Bishop said. “The alternative is starting your new year in jail, under arrest for drunk driving with your vehicle impounded, your driver's license suspended, facing fines and fees of $10,000 or more. And that's if you don't crash and cause injuries to others.” He said since mid-December, law enforcement has worked more than 250 DUI enforcement shifts and they’re targeting New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you are drinking to celebrate the holiday, officers said have a plan for how you’re getting home. — Ross Terrell

Region

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez Gets Vaccinated

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez received the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday morning at a hospital in Gallup, New Mexico. Nez said he got vaccinated to show he “supports science” and asked people to stop spreading misinformation about the vaccine. The Utah Navajo Health System clinics in San Juan County will be vaccinating current patients over the age of 75 starting next week. Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, opted not to get the vaccine Thursday but did not say why. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff