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AM News Brief: Troubled Teen Worker Charged With Abuse, Hispanic Americans Eager For Vaccine & Jazz Head To Playoffs

A photo of the main Utah Jazz offices.
Brian Albers
/
KUER
The Utah Jazz are heading into the NBA playoffs in first place in the Western Conference. This story and more in Monday morning's news brief.

Monday morning, May 17, 2021

State

Weekend COVID Update

Utah health officials reported 562 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. Around 35,000 doses of the vaccine were administered, with more than 1.1 million Utahns now fully vaccinated. The positivity rate for the past week is 3.5%, slightly up from a week ago. Health officials reported over the weekend that two more people died from COVID-19, but those deaths happened before April 14. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Lifting School Mask Mandate: Too Early Or Too Late?

Whether people are in support of mask mandates or not, many agree that the timing of the decision to end the school mask mandate early was off. Gov. Spencer Cox announced last week that public K-12 schools will not be required to have a mask requirement during their final week of school. Many people who have been pushing for schools to stop requiring masks felt Gov. Cox should’ve lifted the mandate immediately. On the other hand, people who see masks as a key preventative measure to keeping schools safer from COVID-19 felt lifting the mandate was done prematurely and a betrayal to high-risk kids. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

Former “Troubled Teen” Worker Charged With Child Abuse

A staffer at a Utah facility for “troubled teens” has been charged with child abuse after allegedly breaking a 15-year-old boy’s wrist. Charging documents say 21-year-old Tyler Feinga was trying to restrain the boy because he was being disruptive in class. The incident happened in January at West Ridge Academy in West Jordan before stricter regulations were passed on the troubled teen industry earlier this year. The type of hold that Feinga used is now banned, and facilities have to report all restraints to state regulators within 24 hours. He has since been fired. Read the full story. — Jessica Miller, Salt Lake Tribune

Utah Lake Tragedy

Searchers have found the bodies of two jet skiers who were missing on Utah Lake. Authorities said the two men are brothers believed to be in their 30's. The wife of one of the men had called to report them missing early Sunday. A spokesperson for the Utah Counties Sheriff's Office, said the men were both wearing life vests, and it was not known if the brothers suffered some kind of injury. — Associated Press

Jazz Head To Playoffs

The Utah Jazz are heading into the NBA playoffs in first place in the Western Conference. The team ended its regular season Sunday night with a win against the Sacramento Kings, making this the team’s fifth year in a row in the playoffs. Vivint Arena announced over the weekend it’s increasing seating limits to 13,000 fans during the postseason, about 70% of total capacity. Masks will still be required, and proof of vaccination is needed to sit courtside. — Jon Reed

Southern Utah

Lake Powell Level Impacts Boating

The Stateline Launch Ramp at Lake Powell will be closed to motorized vessels starting Monday. Glen Canyon National Park officials said the closure is because the lake’s water levels are dropping faster than expected and Lake Powell could also reach its lowest point in over 50 years. People can still access the lake via the Wahweap Marina about a mile and a half away from the Stateline Launch Ramp. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

Colorado River Delta In Mexico Sees Water

The Colorado River’s dry delta in Mexico is seeing water return in some areas this year. Water for environmental restoration is part of an ongoing agreement between the U.S. and Mexico. It’s being delivered through irrigation canals to build wildlife habitat. Studies show that after a 2014 pulse flow there was significant growth of vegetation along the river, and boosts in wildlife numbers. The environmental flows are planned to extend through the summer season. — Luke Runyon, KUNC

Hispanic Americans Eager For Vaccination

Many unvaccinated Hispanic Americans are eager to get the covid-19 shot, according to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation. About one third of unvaccinated Hispanic respondents want to get vaccinated as soon as possible, compared to about 16% of non-Hispanic white and Black respondents. Those results point to an opportunity for our region’s public health officials. The survey found people were worried about missing work or being asked for a social security number or ID. In Utah, 35% of Hispanic and Latino residents have received at least one dose compared to 52% of non-Hispanic whites. Read more from Kaiser Health News in English / Leer en Español. — Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau

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