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PM News Brief: Period products for Utah schools, COVID hospitalizations underreported & getting ready for ‘the big one’

tampon machine
Brian Albers
/
KUER
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-UT, will face a primary challenge for the first time since his election in 2012. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, Jan. 27, 2022

State

Period products for Utah schools

Public school students in Utah are a step closer to getting free tampons and pads in their school bathrooms. That’s because of a bill that passed the state’s House Education Committee unanimously Tuesday. Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, is sponsoring H.B. 162, which would give Utah public schools funding to stock bathrooms with free menstrual products. In the committee hearing, she said nearly seven in 10 female students in the United States have missed a class because they didn’t have access to menstrual products. Megan Reid, a 17-year-old student, testified at the hearing. She said the legislation would “help girls feel like they aren't alone.” The bill is now making its way through the full house. — Leah Treidler

More COVID hospitalizations than earlier reported

Utah has been undercounting the number of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. In their daily press release, the Department of Health said the error happened when the state shifted to a new data reporting system in October. The Salt Lake Tribune crunched the numbers and found the mistake didn’t make a significant difference — until omicron hit. Wednesday, for example, the state under-reported hospitalizations by 61 people. A record 843 Utahns were hospitalized on Thursday, and 89% of all of the state's ICU beds are being used right now. — Paighten Harkins, Salt Lake Tribune

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

Getting ready for ‘the big one’

The independent Utah Seismic Safety Commission has outlined priorities for how the state could improve its resilience to a major earthquake. The Wasatch Fault line is at risk for a magnitude 6.75 or greater earthquake, which could devastate communities along the Wasatch Front. The commission has listed five main recommendations: strengthening water pipelines along the Wasatch Front, increasing public awareness, retrofitting school buildings, ensuring building codes are up to date and enforced, and looking at implementing an early warning system. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Meat and the evolution of the human brain

As humans evolved, their brains got bigger. Until now, that shift had often been linked with early humans eating more meat around 2 million years ago. A news study — co-authored by University of Utah associate professor J. Tyler Faith — questions that hypothesis. The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They argue the reason scientists find more evidence of meat consumption at this time is there is a more extensive and studied fossil record of it. The team also said there needs to be more study of other explanations for how human traits emerged. — Caroline Ballard

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