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AM News Brief: Vaccine Reporting Bill Fails, Average COVID Cases Drop & Impeachment Vote Split

doctor holding bottle vial of covid-19 vaccine injection vaccination immunization anti coronavirus disease
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COVID-19 vaccination is moving quickly on the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation.

Monday morning, February 15, 2021

State

Average Daily COVID-19 Cases Below 1,000

Utah health officials reported more than 1,600 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. New cases have been declining for over a month, and the state’s week-long average of new cases has dropped to 958. That’s less than it was a week ago, when it was more than 1,100. Officials also reported over the weekend nine more people died from the disease. Five of those people were younger than 65. — Ross Terrell

Vaccine Reporting Bill Fails

Utah state lawmakers voted down a bill on Friday that would have required medical providers to report vaccines to the state database. Rep. Stewart Barlow, R-Fruit Heights, is a doctor, and he said he was worried about someone using the information improperly. The bill would have allowed patients to opt out of their information being sent, though. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, is also a doctor. He argued that the database requirement could’ve helped doctors and patients assess when someone needed another dose of a vaccine. — Sonja Hutson

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Southern Utah

Vaccinations Going Quickly On Utah’s Navajo Nation

COVID-19 vaccination is moving quickly on the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation. The Utah Navajo Health System is the main health care provider in southern San Juan County, and it has given out 2,400 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s about a quarter of the Native population in the county. But the vaccination rate may be higher because people are traveling to get the vaccine, according to Byron Clarke, operations manager for the health service. The health service held a vaccination drive-thru event in Monument Valley last week for people over the age of 45, and they opened it up to everyone because the line died down early. Lola Black, 33, showed up by accident but said she was excited to get the shot. The next vaccination drive-thru will take place in Blanding on Tuesday. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

Utah Senators Split On Impeachment Vote

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, voted to convict former President Donald Trump during his impeachment trial over the weekend. Romney was one of seven Republican senators who did so. The former president was charged with inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last month. Romney said in a statement that Trump used the power of his office to urge his supporters to march on the Capitol, and “he did this despite the obvious and well known threats of violence that day.” Utah’s other Senator, Republican Mike Lee, voted to acquit Trump. Lee said in a statement that the Senate could not convict a former President, and added that the House impeachment did not prove that Trump actually incited the attack on the Capitol. Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict the former president during the first impeachment last year. — Sonja Hutson

Arctic Chill

From southern Colorado all the way through to Wyoming, central Idaho and Montana — it has been cold. Many cities were only reaching highs in the single digits and wind chill dropped the temperature near Glacier National Park to nearly minus 50 degrees on Friday. The National Weather Service warns that frostbite can occur within ten minutes when it's that cold. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau