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It’s Friday, April 10. We’ll provide the latest coronavirus updates involving Utah throughout the day.
[Read complete coronavirus coverage here.]
8:50 p.m.: Dinosaur National Monument closed to visitors
Dinosaur National Monument is closed to all visitors effective immediately, it announced Friday evening.
Through traffic will be allowed on roads through the monument — located in Dinosaur, Colorado and Jensen, Utah — that access other county roads, residences, leased lands and certain public lands. All other roads and ways in are closed, according to a news release.
“I and the park staff are disappointed that we cannot welcome spring visitors to the park as usual, but it is the necessary thing to do in the interest of public health as we combat the spread of coronavirus,” Superintendent Paul Scolari said in the release.
— Paighten Harkins
7:08 p.m.: Gov. Gary Herbert extends “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive through May 1
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced Friday that he is extending his “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive through May 1.
The move, according to a news release, was to align with the Utah Leads Together Plan, which predicted that an 8- to 12-week “urgent response” phase would be necessary to combat the coronavirus. The plan outlines how Utahns can stay healthy and how the state can recover economically.
“We are seeing encouraging evidence that our efforts to stay home are making a difference,” Herbert said in the release. “We cannot let up on these measures. Working together, we can slow the spread of coronavirus, alleviate the stress on our health systems, and get Utahns back to work and to a level of normalcy more quickly.”
The directive asks Utahns to stay home as much as possible, only go to work if necessary, keep close to home for recreation and not to gather with people outside of their household.
— Paighten Harkins
6:15 p.m.: SLC mayor issues seventh emergency proclamation for the city
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall issued a seventh emergency proclamation for the city on Friday, this one meant to help renters, landlords, businesses and those experiencing homelessness amid the coronavirus outbreak.
With the proclamation, rental property owners who don’t evict tenants because of financial hardships during the pandemic can postpone paying the 2020 business license fees, according to a news release.
It also prohibits city assistance in residential evictions in most cases and forgives May and June rent for nonprofit leasing property owned by Salt Lake City Corporation or the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City.
The proclamation also extends St. Vincent de Paul Center’s conditional use permit, allowing it remain an overflow shelter for people experiencing homelessness until June 30.
Parking for recreation vehicles on city streets is also now allowed, so long as the vehicles are used as shelters for first responders, medical personnel and others who were exposed to COVID-19 while on the job.
— Paighten Harkins
5:30 p.m.: University of Utah to hold graduation ceremony online
The University of Utah will hold its graduation ceremony online this spring due to the coronavirus.
The school announced the virtual commencement will be April 30 at Utah.edu/live. It will start at 6:30 p.m.
Additionally, the U. will combine the spring 2020 convocation events — done for each individual college within the school — with those held in December.
“While none of the options are what any of us had envisioned, we hope these two graduation celebrations will provide our community members with the moments of recognition they deserve, and we thank everyone for their patience and flexibility as we navigate this public health crisis together,” said Lori McDonald, vice president for Student Affairs.
Utah Valley University in Orem announced it will postpone its graduation ceremony until August.
— Courtney Tanner
4:20 p.m.: Group warns against using homemade cleaners against coronavirus
Utah consumers are being warned not to use homemade cleaning products to sanitize against the coronavirus.
The advice Friday from the nonprofit Alliance for Consumer Education comes in light of several online news and infotainment sites touting “do-it-yourself” recipes for items some are finding in short supply, such as cleaning wipes and antibacterial sprays.“
Using homemade cleaning products may not be effective and can even be harmful,” the group said. Vinegar, a common ingredient in these recipes, “will not kill coronavirus because it cannot dissolve the outer lipid membrane of the virus,” it added.
The alliance said only products listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV2” are effective in killing COVID-19.
The group also underscored the importance of regular hand washing, cleaning high-touch surfaces including electronics with a trusted disinfectant, and following other guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.
— Tony Semerad
3:45 p.m.: Utah restaurants get a break on delivery services
DoorDash is making it less expensive for restaurants to offer delivery.
The third-party service announced Friday that it would cut commissions in half for the more than 150,000 restaurants in the United States, Canada and Australia.
The $100 million commission relief program begins April 13 and continues through May, the food delivery service said in a news release.
Last month, Grubhub announced that it would temporarily stop collecting commission fees of up to $100 million from independent U.S. restaurants hit by the coronavirus.
— Kathy Stephenson
3 p.m.: Ben McAdams participating in clinical trial
Utah Rep. Ben McAdams, who recently was discharged from the hospital after being treated for the coronavirus, is participating in a clinical trial to see if the antibodies in recovered people’s blood can be used as treatment.
“I’m doing this because I hope, that having had the virus, my blood can help save lives,” McAdams said in a Friday Facebook post. “Scientifically proven therapies to treat and reduce the mortality rate of this virus will help us end this shutdown and get back to normal.”
McAdams was admitted to the hospital on March 20 — two days after his diagnosis — because of “severe shortness of breath.” He was released March 28.
So far he’s the only member of Congress to be hospitalized with the coronavirus.
— Paighten Harkins
2:50 p.m.: Utah-based grocery stores will be closed on Easter Sunday
Stores that are part of the Associated Retail Operations in Utah will be closed on Easter Sunday to give employees a much-needed day off.
Traditionally, Macey’s, Dan’s, Dick’s, Lin’s and Fresh Market would have had limited hours on Easter, President David Rice, said in a news release. “I’m incredibly proud of our teams and how they’ve been working around the clock to keep our stores stocked and sanitized.
Associated Stores also have expanded shopping hours for seniors and those with compromised immune systems. Those groups can now shop Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 to 9 a.m.
In addition, starting April 13, guests can use curbside pickup, direct mail or same-day home delivery for prescriptions — in addition to pickup inside the store.
• Curbside services are available at locations without drive-thru from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Guests interested in this service are asked to park in a designated stall and call the number on the sign. A team member will bring medications to your car without a charge.
• Same-day home deliveries, offered at participating locations, will cost $10 per delivery and must be within a 10-mile radius from the store.
• Mail is available by request. Deliveries will be picked up Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. by the U.S. Postal Service and delivered by first-class mail. Standard postage rates will apply. However, until April 30, mail order prescription postage rates will be waived.
— Kathy Stephenson
2:30 p.m.: 5 restaurants helping others
While restaurants are struggling to survive, several are still trying to help those in need.
Here are a few examples of their generosity:
Gandolfo’s Deli has created a GoFundMe page for first responders. Dain Pool, a Utah franchise owner, said the goal is to raise $15,000 to pay for 200 meals a day for area hospitals.
Firehouse Subs says a portion of all sandwich sales in 2020 will go to its Public Safety Foundation. It already collected about $48 million to put toward supporting first responders.
Marco’s Pizza has donated pizza to senior care centers, firefighters and other communities impacted by the coronavirus.
McDonald’s has donated $1,500 in Arch Cards to families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City. The Ronald McDonald House Charities also relocated several families out of their facilities and into safer locations due to the pandemic.
Per Noi Trattoria is giving a complimentary penne pasta dinner — topped with either butter and Parmesan cheese or tomato sauce — to seniors and children The offer is good Monday through Saturday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m
— McKhelyn Jones
2 p.m.: Utah’s system for monitoring people who enter the state is now operational
The state of Utah on Friday began asking people arriving by car and plane why they are here, where they are going and how they’re feeling.
John Gleason, spokesman for the Utah Department of Transportation, said staff began handing postcards to people who arrived at the Salt Lake City International Airport at 7 a.m. asking them to declare whether they have symptoms of the coronavirus and what they are doing in Utah.
No one has refused to complete the postcard, Gleason said.
“So far these efforts have been very well received and there’s been a tremendous spirit of cooperation,” Gleason said.
Utah also began sending text alerts to drivers entering the state on nine interstates and highways. Like the hardcopy postcards, the alerts ask drivers — when they pull over — to complete online survey asking if they have symptoms and their travel plans.
Jess Anderson, commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety, announced some exemptions to the surveys. They do not have to be completed by commercial airline employees arriving at airport; all commercial truck drivers, military, public safety workers, health care providers and people who live and work in two different states.
Anderson said all the surveys are voluntary. Utah is the first state to adopt such a program.
— Nate Carlisle
1:30 p.m.: All four deaths were older men
The four latest COVID-19 deaths in Utah were all men over the age of 60, State epidemiologist Angela Dunn said Friday.
Dunn said three of the men lived in Salt Lake County. Two were living at long-term care facilities that had previously been identified as having an outbreak, she said. The third man was hospitalized at the time of death.
The fourth man lived in Utah County, Dunn said.
Dunn also put out another call for people with symptoms of the coronavirus to get tested. If anyone has a fever, or a cough or shortness of breath should get tested, she said, regardless of how mild.
Identifying people who are positive for the virus will allow public health workers to contact people who have been around those who have been infected.
“This is essential information we need as a public health agency to contain the epidemic here in Utah,” Dunn said.
Utah has been increasing its testing capacity. Early in the pandemic, Dunn and other state officials reserved testing for people with severe symptoms and who were most at-risk.
“We are still at the very beginning of this,” said Dunn, who suggested that Utah would need a few more weeks or maybe a few more months of social distancing.
— Nate Carlisle
12:50 p.m.: Four deaths reported and cases top 2,100
Four more Utahns have died from the coronavirus, the Utah Department of Health said Friday.
It’s the first reported fatalities since Monday, and they bring the state’s death toll to 17. Information about where the deaths occurred was not immediately provided. State epidemiologist Angela Dunn is scheduled to give a briefing to reporters at 1:30 p.m.
The health department statistics show the number of coronavirus cases increased to 2,102 on Friday. That’s a 6% increase from Thursday.
Salt Lake County reached 1,011 cases Friday. The county had 935 on Thursday. The state’s most-populous county has had the most COVID-19 cases since the virus began spreading in Utah.
The department also reported 183 people statewide have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. The number was 168 on Thursday.
— Nate Carlisle
12:45 p.m.: Second man tests positive at the South Salt Lake homeless resource center
A second man has been diagnosed with COVID-19 at the South Salt Lake men’s homeless resource center, a spokeswoman with the Salt Lake County mayor’s office confirmed Friday.
The brings the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the homeless community to four: two in the unsheltered population and two at that resource center, which is one of three in the Salt Lake City area.
The man was taken to the hospital after exhibiting symptoms, said Chloe Morroni in the county mayor’s office. Afterward, county officials moved two dozen men who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus or had been in close contact with him to a county-owned quarantine facility.
Another man over the age of 60 was diagnosed on Wednesday evening. After his diagnosis, county officials decided to stop moving people from the resource center. Now, all clients at the shelter are staying there under quarantine to be monitored and tested by health department officials.
Morroni said the 300-bed men’s resource center, operated by The Road Home, is not accepting any new clients. Staff are taking temperatures of those who are in the facility three times a day and are doing their best to enforce social distancing, she said.
— Taylor Stevens and Paighten Harkins
11:50 a.m.: Universities, libraries, businesses get busy making stuff to battle virus
The Salt Lake County Library is loaning more than a dozen 3-D printers to the University of Utah’s library system, to print personal protective equipment for University Hospital and Salt Lake City’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
“Making face shields is our current priority,” T.J. Ferrill, head of creative services for the U.’s Marriott Library, said in a statement. "There is an immediate need.”
Before loaning its printers to the U., county librarians wanted to make sure their printers could make medical-grade equipment. Julia Pearce Gappmaier, the county’s adult services librarian, contacted Ferrill, whose team has worked to make sure the face-shield designs meet medical requirements.
Ferrill’s team aims to produce 300 to 400 shields a day.
The U. isn’t the only Utah school making medical equipment. At Utah State University, the College of Engineering and the Center for Persons with Disabilities are joining forces to make hundreds of face shields for health care workers in northern Utah. And the 3D lab at Weber State University’s business school is deploying its six printers, making 85 face shields that were donated to the Weber-Morgan Health Department.
Utah businesses are also getting involved by making items to battle the coronavirus:
• Young Living, the essential oils manufacturer based in Lehi, is donating hand sanitizer to organizations that will distribute hundreds of 7.6-ounce bottles to health care workers, school districts and first responders.
• SugarHouse Industries, a Midvale-based maker of boat canopies and awnings, reports that its new side business of making vinyl face shields and cloth face masks has taken off — allowing the company to hire temporarily furloughed workers from other Utah sewing businesses. The company is holding a volunteer day Saturday for employees and their families to make masks.
— Sean P. Means
10:55 a.m.: Utah in a strong position to weather the economic crisis
Fiscally cautious states such as Utah are in a better position to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The nonprofit group’s research indicates that regular “stress testing” of state budgets, operating without deficits and building up so-called “rainy day” reserves all help states navigate unexpected crises and sudden drops in tax revenues when they happen.
The Pew report also praises flexibility and responsiveness on spending by state legislators, which the group said gives them more leeway in dealing with emergencies like the COVID-19 outbreak without disrupting other policy goals.
Utah has ranked high for decades on measures of fiscal caution. The Beehive State also has at least three well-funded cash reserves to help it cope with the emerging recession from COVID-19 and public health steps meant to contain it.
Combined these rainy day funds — currently hold about $932 million. There’s another $804 million in cash set aside for future road and state building construction, which lawmakers can tap and instead borrow to pay for those projects.
Utah has another $1.17 billion in its Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, from which it pays jobless benefits, and that fund is considered among the best financed of its kind in the country. The state has seen at least 82,500 residents apply for unemployment benefits in the last three weeks.
Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson said Thursday much of the Utah Legislature’s upcoming special session to deal with the pandemic will focus on shoring up state budgets.
In an attempt to offer economic relief to Utahns as the coronavirus emergency was hitting, the state has delayed its tax filing date from April 15 to July, effectively pushing its collection of new tax money into the 2021 fiscal year, Wilson said.
“So we've got to go in and manage that process and figure out a way to make sure we can pay our bills and not bounce checks,” the House speaker said Thursday.
The Kaysville Republican also said the upcoming session — to be conducted electronically — will probably spend between $50 and $100 million of nearly $700 million that Utah expects to receive from the U.S. government’s stimulus package aimed at easing effects of the pandemic.
Additional federal money, Wilson said, is likely to be kept in reserve for now, for spending once Utah’s economy moves past the most urgent stages of the outbreak and has begun to stabilize and recover.
— Tony Semerad
10 a.m.: A former USU professor dies of the virus
A former Utah State University professor, whose studies of the Colorado River made hm a national expert on water resource management, has died after a monthlong battle with COVID-19.
L. Douglas James was 83. His death April 3 was reported to USU by his wife, Zhida Song-James, a USU alumna. The couple have lived in the Washington, D.C., area for many years. Song-James told friends they had contracted the coronavirus while on a Nile River cruise.
James, a Stanford alum, taught at the University of Kentucky and Georgia Tech before arriving in Logan in 1976. There, he was director of the Utah Water Research Laboratory from 1976 to 1992.
As the lab’s director, he championed such initiatives as the Sustained Drought Project on the Colorado River.
David Tarboton, a USU professor and the lab’s current director, credited James for helping him develop his career.
“He immediately involved me in a very forward-looking interdisciplinary project examining the consequences of drought in the Colorado River Basin,” Tarboton said in a statement. “That was a formative experience in my early career and is still relevant to my work today.”
James left USU in 1992 to become director of the National Science Foundation’s Hydrologic Sciences Program. There, he managed federal funding to support and expand research in hydrology and water resources management. He retired in 2009.
James authored many research studies, including a manuscript in the first edition, in 1965, of the now-leading journal Water Resources Research. He also wrote a 1971 textbook on water-resource economics that was the standard in the field for 20 years.
“Doug was a wonderful friend and mentor, so thoughtful of the field and of people,” said Upmanu Lall, director of the Columbia Water Center at Columbia University.
— Sean P. Means
8:56 a.m.: DMV reminds people to avoid lines by using mail, email or phone where possible
Utah’s Division of Motor Vehicles — having closed its office lobbies because of the coronavirus pandemic — is reminding people that they can handle a lot of regular transactions by mail, email and phone calls.
An update Friday from the DMV noted that people who need duplicate registration, decal or license plate replacement, or renewals for vehicles that have been expired for six months can mail, email or call the DMV. Information on how to contact the DMV is available at the division’s website, dmv.utah.gov.
Many DMV offices continue to process mail, and are accepting appointments for emergency service. The DMV has four offices — in Salt Lake City, Draper, Farmington and Ogden — that offer drive-thru services, with extended hours. Those four offices are experiencing long wait times, so the DMV is urging people to use mail, email, Internet and the phone when possible.
Most renewal transactions can be done online, at rex.utah.gov, or at on-the-spot registration stations (usually where one gets an emissions test or other car service).
— Sean P. Means
8:32 a.m.: Utah firms join forces to solve each other’s problems
Two Utah companies — one in need of warehouse space, the other trying to avoid furloughing its employees — have teamed up to relieve each other’s problems in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Park City-based Uncharted Supply Co., which sells preparedness products, has seen a spike in business because of panic buying. Uncharted’s CEO and founder, Christian Schauf, said he and his staff have been working overtime to keep up with the demand.
But the enforced closure of small businesses in Summit County on March 25 left Uncharted looking for warehouse space to keep their inventory moving.
Enter Cotopaxi, the Salt Lake City-based outdoor gear manufacturer. The company had to close its retail locations to follow Salt Lake County’s stay-home order, and CEO Davis Smith said he was trying to keep his workers on the payroll.
“In a blizzard, [Uncharted] moved all of our inventory and fulfillment aspects of our business to Salt Lake City, and Cotopaxi welcomed us into their warehouse,” Schauf said in a news release. “This ensured that not only were we able to stay open, but we were able to more quickly fulfill orders and catch up.”
The companies have teamed up to assemble Uncharted’s survival packs, and will ship them as soon as a final few pieces arrive. They’ve also brought in more people to handle customer support. The companies are also developing a new product together, putting Uncharted’s preparedness products in Cotopaxi’s packs, that is set for release in May.
The collaboration, Smith said, “has been a mutually beneficial, positive and uplifting partnership.”
— Sean P. Means