kat webb

While social distancing and event cancellations make it harder for organizations to connect the public to humanities projects, Deena Pyle at Utah Humanities created a Virtual Campfire campaign to increase public involvement, connection and conversations.

Deena Pyle, the communication director for the non-profit Utah Humanities, said she’s impressed and inspired by the ways people are fighting to stay connected despite all of the social distancing initiatives enacted in the state to slow the spread of the coronavirus. So inspired, she created the organization’s Virtual Campfire social media and email campaign to encourage conversations about the impact of the humanities in our lives.

Gov. Gary Herbert announced Utah will be transitioning from “red,” or the high-risk category in terms of the coronavirus pandemic, to “orange,” or moderate risk, on Friday. 

Utah Coronavirus Update, Tuesday, April 28

Apr 28, 2020

Four new deaths and 110 new coronavirus cases were confirmed by Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Of the 102,439 people tested for the virus, Utah has seen 4,343 positive cases. In the daily press conference, Gov. Gary Herbert said the state is capable of testing 6,000 people per day, and the labs have the capacity to analyze up to 9,000 tests per day. 

In Monday's press conference to update the state on the coronavirus, state epidemiologist Angela Dunn said Utah is increasing community tracing efforts to get a better sense of how far the virus is spreading as businesses and restaraunts plan to start reopening. She said while the current tracing efforts question the past two days after a person receives a positive test result, Utahns with the virus will now be asked to report contacts from the past seven days of being tested. 

On Friday, during the daily update on the state’s coronavirus efforts, Gov. Gary Herbert said the state has not yet taken possession of the 20,000 units of Hydroxychloroquine previously ordered (costing the state $800,000) to treat coronavirus cases in Utah.

Gardeners' and Farmers' markets are important socially, but even more crucial for rural food and agriculture's economic status. With new precautions, Utah's markets are moving forward and following UDAF, local health department guidelines.

The Cache Valley Gardeners’ Market has always opened on Mother’s Day weekend, and Mary Laine, the market manager, said this year will keep up the tradition — though with new precautions due to the coronavirus.

Stress, anxiety, domestic violence rates rise due to the coronavirus pandemic. Utah increasing free resources to cope with COVID-19, coronavirus-related mental health issues.
Rido / Adobe Stock

There’s an ever-growing number of free telephone and online resources for Utahns who are dealing with stress and anxiety brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and related job losses. Morissa Henn, the Community Health program director at Intermountain Healthcare, is part of the group that formed the Emotional Health Relief Hotline to help Utahns with mental-health needs as they arise. 

Utah’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Peterson announced via Facebook video on Monday that Karina Andelin Brown will be his running mate in the 2020 election. Brown has made a name for herself as an advocate for healthcare, despite only being involved in public affairs for a few years. Brown was one of the five cosponsors for Proposition 3 on Medicaid expansion.

In Monday's daily coronavirus update, state epidemiologist Angela Dunn said Utah's low case numbers means a higher vulnerability if there is a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall.
Utah Department of Health

Utah is seeing evidence that social distancing and isolation efforts have paid off in flattening of the curve of COVID-19’s spread, according to state epidemiologist Angela Dunn in Monday's daily coronavirus update. But because of Utah’s low numbers, Dunn said the state will be more vulnerable if there is a second outbreak of the virus in the fall because of decreased herd immunity.

Utah Coronavirus Update, Friday, April 17

Apr 17, 2020

The Utah Department of Health announced 122 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday afternoon, bringing the statewide total to 2,805. The virus has caused two new deaths and six more hospitalizations.

In lieu of the typical daily update, Gov. Gary Herbert joined with representatives from the state senate, house, local commerce and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to announce the “Utah Leads Together 2.0” plan aimed at a phased reopening of the state’s commerce on May 1.

LDS Church to partner with University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare to sew 5 million "clinical grade" masks for healthcare providers and other frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tadeáš Bednarz / Wikimedia Commons

On Friday, state officials announced the second iteration of the “Utah Leads Together” plan. Through this plan, private industry is partnering with the healthcare community and religious groups to not only get Utah’s economy functioning normally again, but to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the state. Derek Miller, president of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance, said the partnership between the public and private sectors represents “the Utah way” of coming together to help the state, as a whole. 

National Park Closure Leads To Layoffs In Moab

Apr 16, 2020
With National Parks closed due to the coronavirus, Utah's tourism industry is shutdown, leading to layoffs and loss of income.
Chao Yen / Flickr

The weeks surrounding Easter are generally some of the busiest for Canyonlands National Park, but due to closures surrounding the coronavirus, the red rocks are empty following the March 28 announcement from the National Park Service.

Utah Coronavirus Update, Thursday, April 16

Apr 16, 2020

As of 1 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, there are 2,683 confirmed coronavirus cases in Utah.

This marks a jump of 141 cases in 24 hours. One additional death have been reported, bringing the total number of Utahns to die from the virus to 21. There have been 17 new hospitalizations from the virus.

Tracy Gruber, the director of the Utah Office of Child Care at Utah Department of Workforce Services, announced an operations grant available to licensed and open childcare facilities today. The funding is meant to keep the operations going in the face of significant loss in enrollment.

Gruber said Utah’s childcare programs have taken a significant hit — just like the rest of the country. In fact, Gruber said 38% of licensed childcare centers in the state have temporarily closed, as have 18% of family programs. Overall, Gruber said the state has lost 38,000 childcare slots. 

Utah Coronavirus Update, Wednesday, April 15

Apr 15, 2020

There are now 2,142 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Utah as of the daily update at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Along with an increase of 130 cases from Tuesday, one new death — a male over the age of 60 with underlying health issues — has been reported. 

Eight new hospitalizations due to the virus were reported, bringing the state total to 221. Roughly half of the cases requiring hospitalization have been 46-64 years of age, with 25-44 and 65-84 splitting the other half. 

In the daily press conference to update Utahns on the coronavirus, state epidemiologist Angela Dunn said Utah’s confirmed coronavirus cases have been analyzed to determine differences in racial backgrounds. Dunn said the results show the state’s Hispanic and LatinX populations have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. While only making up 14% of the state’s racial or ethnic background, 28% of Utah’s cases identify as Hispanic or LatinX.

Gov. Gary Herbert said to continue slowing the spread of COVID-19, the soft closure of Utah’s schools will continue through the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. He made the announcement today, in the daily press conference to update the public about the coronavirus in Utah, where he said it’s essential students’ learning continues. The governor added distance learning efforts enacted by many of Utah’s schools have been difficult, but he said he appreciates the way families and teachers have adapted. 

Utah Coronavirus Update, Tuesday, April 14

Apr 14, 2020

There are 49 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Utah as of Tuesday at 1 p.m., and one new death has been reported. According to Gov. Gary Herbert, the mortality rate in Utah is 0.8% where the national average is about 4%, and the international average is roughly 6%. Twelve more cases have required hospitalization. 

More information will be available after the daily 1:30 p.m. press conference.

Utah Shakespeare Festival to continue despite coronavirus.
-ted / Flickr

The Utah Shakespeare Festival announced today it’s moving forward with plans to produce a 2020 season. 

Coronavirus Updates, Monday, April 13

Apr 13, 2020

There are 2,363 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Utah as of Monday afternoon. There was one new death over the weekend, and 201 individuals have needed hospitalization — roughly 10% of Utah’s cases.

Are Federal Agencies Using COVID-19 To Attack Federal Lands?

Apr 10, 2020
Conservation groups like the Western Watersheds Project and the Center for Biological Diversity are accusing federal agencies like the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management of attacking public lands, using COVID-19 as a smokescreen.

A Center for Western Priorities study found that the Interior Department has issued 57 separate actions since March 6, when President Donald Trump signed the first COVID-19 emergency bill. Erik Molvar, the executive director of the Western Watersheds Project, said Interior released the Great Basin Fuel Breaks Project last week. According to Molvar, the project would destroy thousands of acres of sage grouse habitat in Utah and do little to control wildfires.

Utah Coronavirus Updates, Friday, April 10

Apr 10, 2020

There have been 126 new cases of the coronavirus in Utah as of 1 p.m. on Friday, bringing the state’s total to 2,102 confirmed cases. Utah’s growth is still holding steady at about 5%, according to state epidemiologist Angela Dunn.

Utah Coronavirus Updates, Thursday, April 9

Apr 9, 2020

There are 1,976 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Utah as of Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. This is an increase of 130 — or 7% — from Wednesday.

In a press conference Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert said he will be in talks with the chairman of the state school board and the state superintendent on whether or not students will return to schools in May or if the soft closure will continue after the original May 1 deadline. He said there’s also a possibility schools may be dismissed early, pending a review on how things have gone in the past few weeks.

Herbert said there will be an announcement on the decision some time next week.

Contact free social distancing community art day with at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University.
Kat Webb / UPR

The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University tries to offer a community art day on the second Saturday of every month. This week, NEHMA will feature a sculpture walk and the option to make art from home to comply with social distancing since the museum has closed, according to Michelle Nowling, NEHMA’s education and outreach coordinator.

Schools close to slow spread of coronavirus, but cafeteria workers are still preparing lunches for students to be picked up or dropped off on bus routes.
NightRider63 / Wikimedia Commons

On a typical weekday, Edith Bowen Laboratory School in Logan usually bustles with more than 300 K-5 students, but just before Spring Break, the school’s secretary, Susan Wall, was one of five people in the building due to the coronavirus pandemic.