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PM News Brief: COVID-19 Pregnancies, Learn To Work & Stericycle Settlement

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Pregnant women who have a severe case of COVID-19 are at a greater risk of dying or having pregnancy complications compared to those who were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, January 29, 2021

State

COVID-19’s Effect On Pregnant Women

Pregnant women who have a severe case of COVID-19 are at a greater risk of dying or having pregnancy complications compared to those who were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. That’s based on a new study released Friday at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual meeting. Torri Metz is an associate professor at the University of Utah and the study’s lead author. She said they also found pregnant women who had mild cases were not at higher risk when compared to those without symptoms. — Ross Terrell

Utah Sees COVID-19 Cases Fall Throughout January

According to the Utah Department of Health, the number of COVID-19 cases in Utah has fallen steadily in the state throughout January. The same goes for the percent of tests with positive results. Right now, around 18.2% of tests are positive. That’s compared to 33% at the beginning of the month. The department also reported 1,517 new cases of COVID-19 Friday. Thirty-five more people have died from COVID-19 — 16 of those would have been reported Thursday, but there was an error with the data. Another six deaths happened before Jan. 1. — Caroline Ballard

Nearly 6,000 Utahns Enroll In State’s Learn To Work Program

More than 5,600 Utahns have enrolled in the state’s Learn and Work program since it launched last summer. A representative from the Utah System of Higher Education gave an update on the program Friday to state lawmakers. It gave Utah colleges federal COVID-19 relief money to offer free or low-cost job training programs. So far just over 30% of people have completed their education and about 10% have landed new jobs. The latest unemployment data shows over 36,000 Utahns are out of work. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

Vicky Chavez Three Year Anniversary Of Living In Salt Lake City Church

Saturday will mark the third year in a row Vicky Chavez has been living in a Salt Lake City church. And now, she’s asking President Joe Biden for help. Chavez is an undocumented immigrant. She and her two kids have been seeking sanctuary at the First Unitarian Church since 2018. She is asking the president to drop fines brought against asylum seekers by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Biden Administration has begun to reverse many of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies with executive orders but there is still a large backlog within the U.S. court system. One of Biden’s orders allows immigrants to stay with family while they wait for their green cards. Read the full story. Ivana Martinez

Stericycle Reaches EPA Settlement Over North Salt Lake Facility

An Illinois based company has settled a case with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its facility in North Salt Lake. The EPA alleged Stericycle’s medical incinerator violated Utah’s air quality regulations. It said the incinerator exceeded limits of nitrogen oxide and failed to comply with reporting requirements. Now, the company must begin to operate under federal and state standards and pay a $600,000 fine. It also has to spend at least $2 million on low-emitting school buses for a local school district. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Pro-Life Rally Happening From State Capitol To St. George

Pro-Life Utah is holding rallies from the Utah State Capitol to St. George Saturday. It comes as Utah Republican lawmakers have proposed legislation targeting abortion. Bills that deal with consent laws and restricting fetal transports have been introduced in the state. Katherine Larsen is helping organize the pro-life rally in St. George, and she said she hopes politicians see the support Utahns have for the movement. Also this week, both Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, signed onto anti-abortion bills in Congress. Read the full story. Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

National Monument Designation Leads To Job Creation

Two national monuments in the Mountain West region that were shrunk by former President Donald Trump’s administration could see their previous boundaries restored. A recent analysis from the non-profit research group, Resources for the Future, found that designation of national monuments can create jobs. The analysis included two different studies, one of which looked at a 25-year span across our region where a monument was designated. That study found a significant increase in jobs in several different industries, including health care, business and real estate. It also found there was no effect on average to the number of jobs in mining, forestry and livestock grazing. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau