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PM News Brief: COVID complication in kids, Halloween safety & new appointment to redistricting commission

A photo of jack-o-lanterns.
Brian Albers
/
KUER
Halloween falls on a Sunday this year. Some Utahns have said they'll instead be going trick-or-treating on Saturday for religious reasons. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, Oct. 29, 2021

State

New appointee to Independent Redistricting Commission

Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson has appointed a new member to the Independent Redistricting Commission. Logan Wilde is the former Utah Agriculture and Food Commissioner and a former Republican lawmaker. He’ll take over former Republican Congressman Rob Bishop’s spot. Bishop dramatically quit the redistricting commission earlier this week over concerns about rural representation. Speaker Wilson said in a statement Commissioner Wilde will bring a “unique perspective” to the group as a rural Utahn. Wilde won’t be on the commission for very long. It already approved its draft maps and will present them to lawmakers on Monday. — Sonja Hutson

Utah kids comprise 20% of new COVID infections

Utah children are making up about 20% of new COVID-19 cases and half of those are kids ages five to 10 years old according to Intermountain Healthcare. Some of them are landing in the hospital due to complications. One condition, in particular, has doctors worried. It’s called multi-system inflammatory syndrome, a condition where different body parts become inflamed like the heart or the lungs. Pediatric specialist Dr. Andrew Pavia said parents can protect kids by having them mask up until they are eligible to be vaccinated. Pfizer’s vaccine for five to 11-year-olds was approved by the Food and Drug Administration Friday. — Ivana Martinez

COVID continues to overwhelm Utah hospitals

COVID-19 case rates in Utah remain high. State health officials reported 1,810 new cases Friday. Hospitals continue to be overwhelmed, as well, with 99% of all intensive care unit beds in the state full. Eighteen more people have died from the virus. One man was younger than 45. — Caroline Ballard

Health officials call for pedestrian safety this Halloween weekend

Halloween falls on a Sunday this year. Some Utahns have said they'll instead be going trick-or-treating on Saturday for religious reasons. Whatever day families choose to celebrate, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is safe to go trick-or-treating this year, as long as folks stay outside. Health officials do have other safety concerns with Halloween, unrelated to the pandemic. Kids are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year. The Utah Department of Health recommends carrying a flashlight or glow stick. — Martha Harris

Region/Nation

Greenhouse emissions to be factored into lease sales

The Bureau of Land Management announced Friday it will now analyze greenhouse gas emissions, as well as their “social cost,” when doing environmental reviews for new oil and gas lease sales. Fossil fuel extraction accounts for about a quarter of the U.S.’s greenhouse gas emissions. Utah has the fourth most oil and gas leases on federal lands out of all 50 states. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

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