News Brief: Flu Season, Population Growth & Water Restoration | KUER 90.1

News Brief: Flu Season, Population Growth & Water Restoration

Dec 31, 2019

Tuesday evening, December 31, 2019

STATE

Utah In 2100

How will climate change affect the country by the end of the century? It’s a question a group of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania tackled recently with an atlas of over 100 maps that imagine how the country might look in the year 2100. The project’s authors say no part of the U.S. will go untouched — including Utah. Read the full story. Jon Reed

Utah Population Growth

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah added more than 442,000 people since 2010, a growth rate of 16% — higher than any other state. Census estimates show there are now just over 3.2 million people who call the Beehive State home. That increase can be attributed to people moving here and to the state’s birth rate, which consistently ranks among the highest in the nation. Still, like the rest of the country, Utah’s birth rate is slowing down. Last year, the state’s birth rate dropped for the first time ever below what’s called the “replacement rate.” — Nicole Nixon

Flu Season

As we head into the New Year, severity of influenza in the state is low overall — but flu activity is picking up. The Utah Department of Health says 109 hospitalizations have been reported, which tracks as fairly normal. Flu rates can peak late in the season, and the department says it is not too late to get a flu shot. A flu vaccine is the best way to prevent flu. The department also recommends washing your hands frequently and staying home from work or school if you feel ill. — Caroline Ballard

Medicaid Enrollment

Open enrollment for Utah’s full Medicaid Expansion begins Jan. 1. This will cover people living at up to 138% of the federal poverty level. That’s $35,535 a year for a family of four. The program does have a “community engagement requirement.” Applicants will have to prove they have been looking for work or that they were unable to do so because of family obligations, an illness or disability, or other barriers. — Caroline Ballard

Zions Bank Consumer Index

Utahns are feeling confident in the state’s economy and job market. The latest Zions Bank Utah Consumer Attitude Index increased by about two points in December. Nationally, the index decreased 0.3 points. According to the report, only 8% of Utahns believe jobs are difficult to get. The majority also believe business conditions are favorable right now, and many are optimistic that their household income will increase in the next six months. — Caroline Ballard

Watershed Partnership

The Bureau of Land Management and the Utah Department of Natural Resources announced a new five-year agreement that will continue the BLM’s support of the state’s Watershed Restoration Initiative. The BLM can contribute up to $75 million to the program over that time period. The money funds locally-driven projects to improve watershed health, water quality, habitat and biological diversity. More than 500 agencies, individuals and organizations have contributed to the Watershed Restoration Initiative’s projects throughout Utah since it began in 2005. — Caroline Ballard