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PM News Brief: Johnson & Johnson, Frontier Airlines & UVU Cheer Team Champs

A photo of Utah Valley University's cheer team at Daytona Beach.
Courtesy of Utah Valley University
Utah Valley University’s cheer team is a national champion. The National Cheerleaders Association’s 2021 Championship took place in Daytona Beach last weekend. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, April 13, 2021

State

Utah’s C+ On Infrastructure Report Best In The Nation

Utah ranked top in the nation in a new White House report on public infrastructure, receiving a C+. The report graded states on 12 major areas of infrastructure the Biden Administration hopes to improve with $2.3 trillion in federal funding. Those include traditional categories like roads and bridges, but also broadband access, child care and housing. Despite its relatively high score, Utah has suffered from a “systemic lack of investment” for decades, the report said. It’s not clear yet how much federal funding Utah will receive if the infrastructure bill passes, but Envision Utah director Ari Bruening said it could be well spent on expanding public transportation and water management. Read the full story.Jon Reed

Niederhauser To Head New Office Of Homeless Services

Gov. Spencer Cox announced Tuesday that former Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser will soon be Utah’s first homeless services coordinator. The new position will oversee the Office of Homeless Services. It’s part of a large-scale restructuring of how the state approaches homelessness and affordable housing passed by the state Legislature this year. Niederhauser served in the Utah state senate for more than 12 years –– half of that time as Senate President. — Caroline Ballard

COVID-19 By The Numbers

The Utah Department of Health reported 358 cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. Two more people have also died. One was a woman between the ages of 45 and 64 from Salt Lake County, and the other was a woman from Carbon County between the ages of 65 and 84. More than 1.1 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the state. — Elaine Clark

Northern Utah

Utah Calls For Pause of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The Utah Department of Health is recommending health care providers in the state pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It comes after reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday that the vaccine can cause blood clots in some patients. Health officials say although clotting is extremely rare, they will take safety precautions. The University of Utah Health has said they will temporarily stop using it. In a press conference, the university’s Dr. Richard Orlandi stressed the safety of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, saying “the risk of Coronavirus far outweighs the risks of the vaccination.” — Ivana Martinez

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Frontier Airlines Expands Salt Lake Service

Frontier Airlines is expanding its service at the Salt Lake City airport. The budget airline announced two new direct flights to Chicago and Dallas beginning June 10, bringing Frontier’s direct routes from Salt Lake to six. — Caroline Ballard

UVU Cheer Team Takes Championship

Utah Valley University’s cheer team is a national champion. The National Cheerleaders Association’s 2021 Championship took place in Daytona Beach last weekend. UVU placed first in a new category for the team — Advanced All-Girl Division One. Last year’s competition was cancelled due to the pandemic. UVU’s coach said it was a great end to a challenging year. The team faced injuries and a handful of positive COVID-19 cases in the weeks leading up to the championship. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Johnson & Johnson And Rural Vaccine Delivery

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are issuing a “pause” on distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. They’re investigating the potential link between extremely rare reports of blood clots after taking the injection. This could have an impact on rural parts of the country that were depending on the single dose vaccine. It has been widely used to vaccinate people in harder to reach places because it does not need ultra cold storage to travel. — Stephanie Serrano