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PM News Brief: Nearly 200 car crashes, new fishing records & flattening the curve again

2021 wiper fishing record
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Tavin Quigley held the record for largest wiper fish caught for part of 2021, until a slightly larger fish was caught and broke the record. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, Dec. 28, 2021

Northern Utah

Search and rescue teams prepare for busy winter season 

The search and rescue team in Summit County spent most of Christmas Eve looking for a lost snowmobiler. They eventually found him alive, though suffering from hypothermia, according to Andrew Wright with the county’s sheriff’s office. He said all the storms could make for “a very busy winter.” In southwest Utah, teams responded to three calls Christmas morning. Darrell Cashin, with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, said this year has been one of the busiest on record, just behind 2020. He said being prepared will hopefully help people avoid having to call for help — or at least will make them more comfortable until they arrive. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery

State

COVID cases spike compared to last Tuesday 

Utah health officials reported more than 1,800 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. That’s more than double the total number of cases Utah saw a week ago. But the positivity rate and hospitalizations are each down slightly. Four more people have died due to COVID. They were all between the ages of 65 and 84. The state’s vaccination rate continues its slow climb upwards — 58.3% of all Utahns are now fully vaccinated. — Ross Terrell

Utah state troopers respond to more than 180 crashes in less than a day

Wintry conditions around Utah have kept state troopers busy. Utah Highway State Patrol tweeted Tuesday morning that it had responded to 181 crashes since Monday evening. Troopers have also assisted more than 350 people on the roads. That included a Greyhound bus crash last night in central Utah’s Emery County. The bus was traveling on I-70 to Las Vegas before veering off the road and overturning. What caused the accident is still under investigation. About 40 people were on board and more than half were taken to nearby hospitals. Law enforcement said none of the injuries appeared to be life threatening. — Ross Terrell

Utah anglers set new fishing records

Utah’s Department of Natural Resources says anglers in the state set four new fishing records in 2021. The state has kept track of fishing harvests since the early 1900s. Three of the new records were for catch-and-release, including a walleye and cutthroat trout in Bear Lake and the Colorado River. The record for a catch-and-keep wiper was actually broken twice this year. On April 8, a fish weighed in at 15 pounds, 4 ounces. It was more than 28 inches long. But on May 23, another wiper topped that at 15 pounds, 5 ounces and longer than 29 inches. To get credit, people must send in documentation of new record-breaking fish to the Division of Wildlife Resources. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Testing is important, but so is mask wearing

Experts are again urging people to help “flatten the curve” as cases of the omicron variant surge. Testing is key to this and President Joe Biden recently announced plans to expand access. But finding tests — and fast results — might not be easy right now. Health experts say that’s one reason to focus more heavily on wearing masks and getting vaccinated and boosted. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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