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AM News Brief: Dire Colorado River Projections, Masks In Temples & Cracking Down On COVID Misinformation

Brigham City LDS temple
Lee Hale
Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are asking all members to wear masks in temples. This story and more in Thursday's news brief.

Thursday Morning, Sept. 23, 2021


New COVID-19 Treatment Center Opens

The Utah Department of Health has opened a new center for COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment. It’s meant for people who are at high risk of complications due to coronavirus. The antibodies mimic the immune system’s response and block the virus from attaching to human cells. The new center will be in Murray on Intermountain Healthcare’s campus, and is set to be a high volume site with the ability to treat up to 50 patients a day. The health department says since November of last year, more than 7,000 Utahns have received the antibody treatment. Officials estimate that helped prevent 900 hospitalizations. Utah saw more than 1,700 new covid cases Wednesday, with 561 people hospitalized due to the virus. — Ross Terrell

Masks In Temples

Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are asking all members to wear masks in temples. The First Presidency said the policy is because of high COVID-19 rates, and will be in effect until “circumstances permit.” This isn’t the first time the Church has asked members to take precautions against a disease. In its letter to members, officials pointed to guidance given in 1900 about smallpox and in 1957 regarding polio. President Russel M. Nelson has also been urging members to get the covid vaccine since August. So far, about 52% of all Utahns have been fully vaccinated. — Caroline Ballard

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Balancing Privacy and Accountability In Voting Records

There’s no evidence of widespread fraud, but election officials are pushing legislation to try to increase transparency anyway. About 30% of Utah voter records are classified as private, according to Utah County Clerk Josh Daniels. So when members of the public request voter rolls to investigate what they believe to be fraud, that data isn’t included. To deal with the difference, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would put those private records on public voter rolls. But instead of a name or any identifying information, there would just be a random number. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson


Cracking Down On COVID Misinformation

Some state and local governments in the West are beginning to crack down on misinformation about COVID-19 and its treatments. Las Vegas area county commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday calling misinformation a “public health crisis.” In Idaho, the state public health department is going to begin banning certain users from commenting on its Facebook page. That includes anyone who threatens healthcare workers or repeatedly posts misleading information. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Projections Show Dire Depletion Of Colorado River

The U.S. government has released a grim new outlook on the drought-hit Colorado river. According to the Bureau of Reclamation, projections show hydropower could be affected as early as next July at Glen Canyon Dam, which holds back Lake Powell. The dire projection comes after the first-ever shortage was declared on the Colorado river. As a result, Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will get less water than normal next year. The agency adds that by 2025, there's a 66% chance another key reservoir, Lake Mead, will fall to a level where California's supply will also be reduced. The Colorado river serves 40 million people in the American West. — Associated Press

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