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AM News Brief: Meth Bust, Owens Endorsement & COVID-19 And Schools

Washington County School District COVID Classroom.png
Courtesy Washington County School District
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Salt Lake County Health Director Angela Dunn gave the county council a stark warning Tuesday. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, Aug. 4, 2021

State

Utah Law Enforcement Save 500th Life With Naloxone

Utah Naloxone announced Monday law enforcement agencies reported saving 500 lives from overdoses since 2016. The group has partnered with agencies to equip them with naloxone kits which reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. Lt. Kenny Rose, with the Lehi Police Department, said before the partnership, officers were powerless in an overdose situation. Now, they have the training and tools to help save lives if someone misuses opioids. He said there’s also been a shift in the way officers are being taught to respond to crisis calls. "I think enforcement has taken a less prominent role and it's more of a response to get the person resources and help,” Rose said. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Northern Utah

Salt Lake County Council Hear Case For School Masks

Salt Lake County Health Director Angela Dunn gave the county council a stark warning Tuesday. Dunn said one child younger than 12 years old could be hospitalized every other day with COVID-19 when school starts if officials don’t take any preventative measures. Her presentation came after dozens of parents begged the council for nearly two hours not to implement a mask mandate. Dunn told the council she wouldn’t recommend a mandate that would get shot down. But she said data show when there were precautions for students last year, like mask wearing and restricting group activities, transmission rates in schools decreased. — Emily Means

Free Back-To-School Vaccination Event

Salt Lake’s Mexican consulate is holding a back-to-school vaccination clinic this Friday. It’s a partnership with Comunidades Unidas and the Salt Lake County Health Department. They’ll have the Pfizer vaccine on hand for people 12 years old and up, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also be available for all adults. The event is free for everyone and runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary. — Elaine Clark

Owens Garners Endorsement

Former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley has endorsed Utah freshman Rep. Burgess Owens in his upcoming re-election bid. The Republican beat out one-term Democrat Ben McAdams for Utah’s 4th Congressional District seat last year. Haley is the former Republican governor of South Carolina. She also served as the ambassador to the United Nations for nearly two years under the Trump Administration. In a statement, Haley called Owens a “truth-teller who never backs down.” — Elaine Clark

Southern Utah

Washington County Meth Bust

In July, federal drug enforcement agents in Washington County seized 21 pounds of methamphetamine and three-and-half pounds of what is suspected to be fentanyl-laced oxycodone. A felony complaint and arrest warrant has now been issued for Iram Issael Lopez-Lopez. Officers pulled Lopez-Lopez over for traffic violations and found the drugs in the trunk and the back seat of his vehicle. The complaint said he admitted to going to Arizona to buy the drugs and return them to Salt Lake City. The warrant was issued Monday for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. — Elaine Clark

Region/Nation

Universities And Vaccination Requirements

Some colleges and universities in our region are requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus. Students in the University of Colorado and University of New Mexico systems, and at many private colleges around the region, are required to get the shot. These mandates are nothing new, and they have a long history of being upheld by the courts. This week, a federal judge green-lit Indiana University’s mandate, though that decision is already being appealed. Some state universities in the Mountain West can’t institute mandates though.Utah lawmakers banned state agencies from mandating COVID-19 vaccination. The Governors of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have done the same by executive order. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau