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AM News Brief: Vaccine Passports, National Park Reservations & Utah’s Skin Cancer Rates

Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Colorado Flickr Tony Webster.jpg
Tony Webster/Tony Webster
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(c) 2018 Tony Webster. All right
People planning to visit national parks this summer may need to make reservations. Glacier, Yosemite and Rocky Mountain National Parks all recently announced they’re making people book ahead to either enter or to visit iconic destinations. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, April 9, 2021

State

Utah Sees Highest Skin Cancer Deaths In The Country

The number of Utahns who have died from melanoma skin cancer outpaced the rest of the country between 1975 and 2013. That's according to research published Thursday by Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in the New England Journal of Medicine. Institute officials also said melanoma death rates have been going down over the years both in Utah and the United States, likely due to new, more effective treatments. Utah also has the highest incidence of melanoma cancer in the country, and researchers suggested that while there has been an increase in cases, some of that may be due to overdiagnosis. — Bob Nelson

Region/Nation

Navajo Nation COVID-19 Cases

The Navajo Department of Health reports 105 new cases of COVID-19 over the past seven days. A total of 30,213 nation residents have contracted the disease since the onset of the pandemic a little more than a year ago. 12,060 people on the reservation have died from the virus, eight of those were this past week. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez reminded residents the safest place to be is on the nation. — Bob Nelson

Plan Ahead For National Park Visits

People planning to visit national parks this summer may need to make reservations. Glacier, Yosemite and Rocky Mountain National Parks all recently announced they’re making people book ahead to either enter or to visit iconic destinations like Glacier’s Going-to-the-Sun road. Sarah Lundstrum with the National Parks Conservation Association said expects this summer to be the "summer to end all summers." She said it may take a while to work out the reservation system and urged people to be patient. The National Park Service has seen record visitation in recent years with long lines and a lot of traffic. While popular destinations such as Glacier and Yosemite are making people book ahead, other parks in the region including Yellowstone are so far shying away from reservations. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Vaccine Passport Pushback

Leaders in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah have rejected the idea of vaccine passports — proof that a person has received the COVID-19 vaccine. But these government actions ranging from denunciations to executive orders do not apply to private businesses. There may be other challenges though for business owners that want to require proof of vaccination. A secure virtual system doesn’t exist yet, and requiring something like a vaccine card, with personal information, could be fraught with legal problems. Some experts say it might be easier for businesses to stick with mask mandates, instead. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau