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PM News Brief: Downwinder Protections, Amtrak Derailment & Weekend COVID Update

A photo of disposable face masks.
Chelsea Naughton
/
KUER
Utah health officials reported nearly 3,200 COVID-19 cases Monday. That’s a three-day total dating back to Friday. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, Sept. 27, 2021

State

Utah Weekend COVID Update

Utah health officials reported nearly 3,200 COVID-19 cases Monday. That’s a three-day total dating back to Friday. The number of current hospitalizations from the virus are up compared to last week, but the state’s weeklong average of new cases and positivity rate has dropped. Officials said 23 more people have died due to COVID. More than half of them were between the ages of 65 and 84. So far, 52.3% of all Utahns have been fully vaccinated. — Ross Terrell

Sen. Mike Lee Introduces Act To Extend Protections For Downwinders

Sen. Mike Lee. R-UT, has introduced a bill to renew and extend protections for downwinders. Those are people who were harmed from nuclear testing fallout between the 1950s and early 1990s. The current Radiation Exposure Compensation Act is set to end next July. Lee’s bill would extend it for another 10 years. It would also expand who is classified as a downwinder in Utah and New Mexico. Last week, Rep. Burgess Owens, R-UT, co-sponsored a similar bill in the House. So far, over $400 million has been paid out to more than 7,000 Utahns as part of the federal program. — Ross Terrell 

Northern Utah

Millcreek City Council Requesting Legal Counsel In Billboard Saga

The Millcreek City Council will meet Monday to discuss whether to give the planning commission an independent legal counsel to advise them on a digital billboard proposal. The city has drafted an agreement with Reagan Outdoor Advertising to swap out four traditional billboards for three digital ones, which would require changing a city ordinance and the plan for a new city center. Shawn LaMar, the commission’s chair, said he believes it’s a conflict of interest to ask advice from the city attorney because it’s Millcreek’s proposal and the city attorney was involved in the negotiations. Read the full story.Emily Means 

Region/Nation

Amtrak Train Derailment Kills Three, Adds Stress To Crowded Hospitals

An Amtrak train derailment in Montana has killed three people and sent several passengers to packed hospitals more than 100 miles away. The Benefis Health System hospital in Great Falls, Montana confirmed it took five injured passengers. That’s after operating above 100% capacity for several weeks. That hospital is expecting more help from the National Guard soon. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau 

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