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PM News Brief: Rep. Curtis heading to U.N. climate conference, new TRAX station at the Salt Lake airport & Hogle Zoo lions have COVID

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Dan Bammes
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Four African lions at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake have tested positive for COVID-19. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, Oct. 25, 2021

State

COVID-19 weekend update

Utah Health Department officials reported a three-day total of 3,636 new COVID cases, and about 19% of those were school-age children. The week-long positivity rate is 10.7%. All but one county in the state are seeing “very high” per-capita case rates of COVID-19. Hospitals continue to be overwhelmed — nearly 99% of all intensive care unit beds statewide are full. 21 more people have died of the disease; six of them were younger than 45. — Caroline Ballard

Utah university and college enrollment up

Enrollment at Utah’s public colleges and universities is bouncing back after a slight decline last year. Overall enrollment across the state’s 16 colleges grew by more than 2.24%, according to the Utah System of Higher Education. It’s a positive development, considering enrollment nationwide has been on a downward trajectory. That trend has been especially pronounced at community colleges around the country. But Snow College — one of two community colleges in Utah — saw an increase in attendance this year, which enrollment manager Teri Clawson attributes at least partly to expanded technical and online options. Enrollment at Salt Lake City Community College, however, fell for the second year in a row. That comes largely from older students opting to work instead of returning to school. Read the full story. Jon Reed

Curtis says conservatives need to be part of climate change conversation

Rep. John Curtis, R-UT, will attend the U.N. Climate Change Conference at the end of the month. He is part of a Republican delegation heading to Scotland for the event. He told the Washington Post Monday the GOP needs to move past the question of whether the climate is changing and go on the offensive with their ideas for solving it. “By talking about it we can show the data and we can show our ideas,” Curtis said. “That helps people feel more comfortable from a conservative perspective, that they don’t need to check their conservative credentials at the door to be part of this conversation.” In August, U.N. scientists called the current climate situation “code red.” They said not enough has been done to reduce the effects of climate change, and that drastic action must be taken. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

Light rail stop at Salt Lake City’s new airport terminal

The Utah Transit Authority has opened a TRAX station at the Salt Lake City airport’s new terminal. It’s now the final stop on the light rail’s Green Line. There had been a temporary platform at the airport, and the new, permanent station drops travelers off at the entrance to Terminal A. Trains will run every 15 minutes. — Caroline Ballard

Hogle Zoo lions test positive for COVID

Four African lions at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake have tested positive for COVID-19. They were showing mild symptoms, like sneezing and coughing, and the tests came back positive for the COVID-19 Delta variant. Zoo officials said they don't know how the lions caught the virus. No other animals at the zoo are showing symptoms. Officials say there’s no known risk to the public, and the lion exhibit will remain open. — Martha Harris

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