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PM News Brief: Lowest COVID Case Count In A Year, Yellowstone Bear Attack & St. George Power Saving Campaign

Aerial view of St. George, Utah.
The City of Saint George has launched a new energy efficiency campaign meant to help avoid rolling blackouts seen in other states. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, May 31, 2021


Utah Sees Lowest COVID-19 Case Count In Over A Year

Utah’s Department of Health reported 143 new cases of COVID-19 Monday — the lowest daily case count in more than a year. The weeklong average is 224 cases per day, 47 less than this time last week. As of Monday, 47% of Utahns 12 and up are now fully vaccinated, and more than 57% have received at least one dose. One more person has died of the disease: a Salt Lake County man between 45 and 64 years old. — Caroline Ballard

Federal Funeral Assistance In Utah

The Federal Emergency Management Agency — or FEMA — launched a funeral assistance program in April to provide financial relief to Americans who have paid for funeral costs due to COVID-19-related deaths. As of May 25, more than 700 Utahns had applied for the federal government’s funeral assistance program. So far, 64 applicants from Utah have been awarded financial assistance. A FEMA spokesperson told KUER that the remaining applications are still under consideration and no applications have been denied. The FEMA COVID-19 funeral relief program works retroactively and the agency has not yet set an application deadline. Read the full story. — David Fuchs

Southern Utah

St. George Wants Help To Avoid Power Outages

The City of Saint George has launched a new energy efficiency campaign meant to help avoid rolling blackouts seen in other states. From June through August, the city will categorize each weekday into green, orange and red days. On green days, typical energy conserving measures should be taken — like keeping the thermostat at 78 degrees and closing blinds. During orange conditions, people should avoid using large appliances or opening doors to the outside during the hottest parts of the day. On red days, people are encouraged to set their thermostats to 80 degrees and avoid charging electric vehicles before 9 p.m. The city will post the conditions on its website and on Facebook. — Caroline Ballard


Preparing For Fire Season

The Biden Administration is doubling federal emergency funds to help communities prepare for natural disasters. New research suggests part of that $1 billion should go to re-working local wildfire plans. University of Utah geography professor Thomas Cova found that fires are now taking some communities by surprise because they’re starting so close to homes, getting so big and moving so fast. Given the new challenges, Cova’s findings encourage putting more work in preparing for the most disastrous circumstances. Read the full story. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Bear Attacks Hiker In Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park officials said a bear attacked and injured a hiker last week. In a statement, officials said it’s the first time this year a person was injured in an attack in the park. The 39-year-old man was hiking alone on a trail Friday near Mammoth Hot Springs when he encountered what he believed to be two grizzly bears. He was seriously injured in his lower extremities, but did manage to hike out on his own. He was taken to a hospital for treatment. The Beaver Ponds Trail where the hiker was injured is closed until further notice. — Associated Press

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