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PM News Brief: COVID-19 Vaccination Goal, Granite District Charges & Unruly Flight Behavior

An illustration of a gloved hand holding a bottle labeled 'COVID-19 Vaccine' in front of a group of people in face masks.
Nalidsa Sukprasert
/
iStockphoto
Slightly more than 70% of Utah adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, July 6, 2021

State

Utah Still Working To Combat Opioid Epidemic

New data show there’s been an increase in opioid-related deaths in Utah since the start of the pandemic. From November 2019 to 2020, drug overdose related deaths increased nearly 8% in the state. Nationwide, there was a nearly 30% jump. Now, health advocates are working to lower those numbers. Heather Lewis, substance use prevention program manager for Utah County, said addressing the opioid epidemic starts with education. “Opioids didn’t go away,” Lewis said. “It’s not going to go away. And we have to continue to educate. We have to continue to share messages and promote safe use and disposal.” Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Utah Experiencing A Blood Shortage

During a press conference Tuesday, health officials in Utah said the state is experiencing a critical blood shortage. They say more outdoor activities are increasing the amount of traumatic accidents. There are also fewer people donating blood than normal. David Beverley was scheduled to give part of his liver to his dad, but the surgery was postponed due to the shortage. “I've been sending as many people as I know, you know, dustoff those donor cards and donate blood,” Beverley said. “I mean, we're not the only ones impacted by this. I'm sure there are people in a lot worse situation than we are.” Officials said as COVID-19 restrictions loosened, there’s also been a spike in surgeries and procedures that were put off. — Tess Roundy

Utah Meets COVID-19 Vaccination Goal

Slightly more than 70% of Utah adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Gov. Spencer Cox announced the milestone in a tweet Tuesday. He said previous counts did not include shots given by the Veterans Affairs, corrections facilities, the Department of Defense or Indian Health Services. Still, COVID rates in Utah continue to rise. The test positivity rate has been steadily increasing since late May and is now 7.7%. The week-long average of new cases is 386 and seven more people have died from the virus since Friday. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

Man Faces Fine For Unruly Behavior On Flight From Provo To Mesa, Arizona

A man who refused to wear a face mask properly on a flight from Provo to Mesa, Arizona could be fined more than $10,000. The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday flight attendants asked him seven times to wear it over his nose and mouth. The complaint said after the plane landed he made contact with a flight attendant and intimidated her about how she was enforcing the mask policy. The case is among eight others around the country in which the FAA wants to levy penalties for unruly behavior on planes. Infractions range from assaulting people on board to refusing to wear a face mask. Since the start of the year, the FAA has received nearly 2,500 complaints of passengers refusing to follow the federal mask mandate. More than $682,000 worth of fines have been proposed. — Ross Terrell

11 People Charges For Disrupting Granite School District Meeting

Charges have been filed against 11 people who disrupted a school board meeting in the Granite District in May. They shouted at board members and demanded an end to school mask mandates — even though the requirement was made at the state level. Court records show they each face a class B misdemeanor after forcing the meeting to an early close. At least three of the defendants’ addresses show they lived outside the district’s boundaries. They’re facing up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine each. — Jon Reed