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AM News Brief: Saturday General Conference, CDC Mask Guidance & COVID-19 Response Barriers

Brian Albers
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reversed a recently announced change to its twice-annual General Conference. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, July 28, 2021


Hot Temperatures Affecting Incarcerated People At Utah Prison

It’s been a hot summer in Utah, with record-high temperatures reported throughout the state. As a result, members of the Utah Prisoner Advocate Network say their loved ones have complained to them about excessive heat inside the Utah State Prison and Central Utah Correctional Facility. Corrections officials say they try to keep the indoor temperatures in the 70s and 80s, but it can be difficult to maintain consistency. They say the cooling systems in the new state prison will be more reliable. That facility is set to open next year. For now, officials say inmates have access to ice machines to keep their water cold or for other needs. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Reversing Saturday General Conference Decision

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reversed a recently announced change to its twice-annual General Conference. Last month, Church leaders said they would not have a Saturday evening session during the weekend event in early October. Now, Saturday evening is back and open to everyone. That session used to be only for men, but was changed to alternate with women. A statement on the Church website said it’s another opportunity for general leaders to address attendees. Conference is Oct. 2-3 and will be the fourth held virtually because of the pandemic. — Elaine Clark

Northern Utah

Dr. Angela Dunn Following CDC Mask Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is changing course on some COVID-19 mask guidelines. The agency announced Tuesday that even vaccinated people should go back to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the Covid cases are surging, like in Utah. The state is averaging 653 new cases everyday which is nearly twice what it was a month ago. Angela Dunn, Salt Lake County Health Department director, said in a statement Tuesday she would follow the CDC’s advice to wear masks inside because she doesn’t know who she might encounter that isn’t vaccinated. Utah leaders have resisted mask mandates and have passed a law saying public schools and universities could not impose their own. — Elaine Clark


Controversy Over Siren In Minden, Nevada Continues

Efforts to silence a century-old siren that blares nightly in Minden, Nevada continue to spark controversy. The debate over how to confront the region's history of racism and violence has yet to be resolved. The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California associates the siren with the historic "sundown ordinance." It once made it illegal for them to be in public after nightfall. Residents of the mostly white town defend it as a tradition that marks time and honors first responders. After state lawmakers banned the siren, the Washoe Tribe's chairman and Minden town manager agreed to move the siren to 5 p.m. but the compromise has left many tribal members unsatisfied. — Associated Press

Public Health Laws May Limit COVID-19 Response

Cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant are surging nationwide. If that trend continues, some Western states have limited how officials can respond, including in Idaho, Montana and Utah. Meanwhile, in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis said in June he’s ready to dial back the executive powers he exercised at the height of the pandemic. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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