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PM News Brief: West Nile Virus, Weekend COVID-19 Update & Another Davis County Jail Death

Wildfires From Space Twitter.jpeg
@Astro_Megan via Twitter
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An astronaut on the International Space Station has recently launched a new project. Megan McArthur is photographing the West’s iconic national parks. This story and more in the Monday evening news brief.

Monday evening, Aug. 9, 2021

State

Utah Three Day COVID-19 Count Tops 2,000

Utah health officials reported 2,018 cases of COVID-19 Monday. That’s the three-day count dating back to Friday and the second week in a row the three-day weekend total has topped 2,000. Utah also surpassed a grim milestone. More than 2,500 people in the state have died from Covid. Nine more deaths were reported Monday, a three-day total as well. Vaccination rates continue their slow trend upwards as just under 47% of all Utahns have been fully vaccinated. — Ross Terrell

West Nile Virus Found In Utah Mosquitos

Mosquitos in Utah are testing positive for the West Nile Virus. According to the Utah Department of Health, 114 samples of the insect’s populations in the state have come back positive for the virus. No humans have been reported as catching it yet, but health officials are warning people to take precautions such as wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, using insect repellent with DEET, and avoiding outdoor activities at dusk and dawn. Over the last decade, Utah saw an average of 12 human cases of West Nile Virus each year. — Caroline Ballard

750 Miles Of Bike Routes In Utah Added To National System

More than 750 miles of bike routes in Utah have been recently approved by the U.S. Bicycle Routes System. The roads and trails criss-cross the state with some of the newest sections connecting Logan down to Torrey near Capitol Reef National Park, and Cedar City down to the Arizona border. The routes are designated in coordination with the Utah Department of Transportation. The state now has 960 miles of routes approved by the national system. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

Environmental Impact Statement For Uinta Railway Basin Released

The final environmental review of a proposed railway in Utah’s Uinta Basin was released Friday. The project would transport oil out of the region. The environmental impact statement finds there would be adverse effects on water resources, wildlife habitat and land use. The document also recommends mitigation measures, which range from designing structures to minimize flooding to using water to make sure dust stays out of the atmosphere during construction. Deeda Seed, with the Center for Biological Diversity, said a project that could increase oil production doesn’t make sense given global climate change. The Seven County Infrastructure Coalition is the group proposing the railway. They said it could increase economic development in the region. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery

Another Inmate Dies At Davis County Jail

Another inmate has died at the Davis County Jail. Officials said Monday, a 57-year-old man was found unresponsive Sunday night during security rounds. The man was booked into the jail on Aug. 5. The sheriff's office said an autopsy is pending, but it appears to be a medical issue. At the end of July, a 58-year-old man at the jail also died from what officials believed to be a medical issue. Since 2020, at least six inmates at the jail have died, three of which were suicides. This year, officials have also reported intervening in two separate suicide attempts. One was a pact between two people. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

Photographing National Parks From Space

An astronaut on the International Space Station has recently launched a new project. Megan McArthur is photographing the West’s iconic national parks. She grew up visiting places like Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Zion, now she’s shooting them from 250 miles above the surface of the earth. McArthur wants to create a portfolio of photos when she returns. Right now she’s taking shots of parks like Zion and Yellowstone and then posting them to Twitter. She’s also taken photos of severe wildfires in the West where the smoke plumes can be seen from space. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau