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PM News Brief: Missionary Training Center COVID outbreak, Great Salt Lake summit & Colorado River cutbacks

A photo of the Great Salt Lake.
Emily Allen
Utah lawmakers will hold a summit next week to discuss the future of the Great Salt Lake. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, Dec. 30, 2021


COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Utah

Utah health officials reported 3,563 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday — the largest number of cases since early January. All counties in the state except for Rich are showing a very high 14-day case rate. Eddie Stenehjem with Intermountain Healthcare said the surge is driven by the omicron variant. He said it does not appear to lead to as much hospitalization as delta, but it is extremely contagious and could lead to continued stress on the health care system. Stenehjem recommended people avoid large gatherings for New Year’s Eve — or at the very least get tested beforehand. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

MTC COVID outbreak

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Provo Missionary Training Center is reporting an outbreak of COVID-19. The Church said in a press release that after several missionaries tested positive earlier this week, they tested everyone at the Center. Ninety-one of 588 missionaries tested positive — a little more than 15%. The Center requires people who come there to be fully vaccinated, so they say cases have been relatively mild. Measures are now in place to limit spread, including wearing face masks indoors. Missionaries just arriving and those leaving the center will all have to have a negative COVID test. — Caroline Ballard

Summit to focus on dire Great Salt Lake conditions

Utah lawmakers will hold a summit next week to discuss the future of the Great Salt Lake. Fox 13 News reports the lake has hit record low levels — 11 feet lower than what it should be. Scientists say that could mean more dust storms for the Wasatch Front and potentially toxic conditions. House Speaker Brad Wilson is spearheading the event ahead of the upcoming legislative session. It will bring together environmental groups, agriculture groups and lawmakers to discuss policies Utah legislators could potentially enact. — Ben Winslow, Fox 13

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aims to inform readers across the state.

How to keep a New Year’s resolution

It’s the time of year when people are setting their New Year’s resolutions, like exercising more and eating healthier. Studies show most of those goals fail. But Salt Lake City resident Austin Whitehead made a resolution to use his car less in 2021 and succeeded. He decided he was going to limit car trips that were less than five miles, and instead biked for many of those excursions. In the end, he said it was a successful resolution — but only because he gave himself some wiggle room. Read the full story. — Emily Means


Water cutbacks begin

The Colorado River Basin will operate under a new plan starting Saturday, Jan. 1, and for the first time ever, it includes mandatory cutbacks for some who draw water from the river. Those reductions will be spread out over the course of 2022. Arizona will lose about a fifth of its supply from the river. Nevada will also experience cuts, but water managers there say people won't feel the changes thanks to conservation measures beforehand. — Alex Hager, KUNC

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