By Bethany Rodgers
By Bethany Rodgers
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Gov. Gary Herbert accused of hosting unmasked guests at outdoor party

Gov. Gary Herbert accused of hosting unmasked guests at outdoor party

Nicholas Rupp and his husband were partway through their ramble through the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City on Wednesday evening when they realized they were passing a soiree on the lawn of the Utah governor’s mansion. Music floated in their direction from behind the fence, and Rupp noticed a harp sitting outside the stately residence. Illuminated by overhead string lights, caterers balanced trays of food and cleared away dirty dishes. The roughly 20 guests who were milling around the mansion lawn were dressed to the nines, he says. Only, some of them were lacking the trademark...

July 23, 2020
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Supreme Court decision reignites the fight over Utah’s 18-week abortion law

Supreme Court decision reignites the fight over Utah’s 18-week abortion law

So far, Utah has spent more than $86,000 defending , as advocacy groups argue it is unconstitutional. State officials are likely to start racking up new costs as the case emerges from a period of dormancy and continues to inch through the federal court system. And the plaintiffs contend that — particularly with the — the state shouldn’t be devoting taxpayer money to block abortion access. “As a taxpayer, I’m frustrated,” said Karrie Galloway, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. “Because I believe in the fact that a woman has a right to make her own decisions...

July 22, 2020
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Utah’s expensive coronavirus app won’t track people’s movements anymore, its key feature

Utah’s expensive coronavirus app won’t track people’s movements anymore, its key feature

State officials debuted Healthy Together in April as a tool for augmenting contact tracing, the painstaking work of identifying people who might’ve come into contact with coronavirus patients. The mobile application — created via a no-bid contract worth up to $6.35 million — would track residents’ movements and, if they become ill, with others. The problem is, almost no one has used it that way. “We’ve learned over the course of the past three months that location tracking isn’t popular,” said Thursday. “And as a result, it hasn’t really been helpful to our contact-tracing efforts.” So,...

July 11, 2020
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Utah lawmakers ban knee-on-neck chokeholds

Utah lawmakers ban knee-on-neck chokeholds

The Utah Legislature on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a proposal banning police from using knee-on-neck chokeholds, in what the bill’s sponsor called a “down payment” for communities that have long lived in fear. During a debate on the House floor, Rep. Sandra Hollins said it’s them to the ground, the tactic used by a white Minneapolis police officer in the death of George Floyd. And prohibiting it, she said, serves as a promise that state lawmakers are hearing the voices of protesters who have called for change and justice. “Our community is feeling unsafe. That’s why you’re seeing...

June 18, 2020
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Utah still likely to give out malaria drugs, despite VA study that found they don’t help

Utah still likely to give out malaria drugs, despite VA study that found they don’t help

Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is providing readers free access to critical local stories about the coronavirus during this time of heightened concern. See more coverage . To support journalism like this, please consider or become a . State leaders who want to buy a stockpile of malaria drugs for the coronavirus are digesting a new study that demonstrated no benefit — and suggested some possible dangers — in using the medication during the pandemic. But Jeff Burton, who’s heading the coronavirus response at the Utah Department of Health, says they’re unlikely to reconsider the...

April 22, 2020
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Utah has already ordered $800K of malaria drugs, could spend millions more on unproven COVID-19 treatment

Utah has already ordered $800K of malaria drugs, could spend millions more on unproven COVID-19 treatment

Utah officials have already committed $800,000 on an initial order of 20,000 doses of malaria medication promoted as a possible treatment for COVID-19, according to records that surfaced Thursday as state lawmakers looked at carving out $8 million that could be for a second and much larger purchase of the unproven drug. If approved by the Legislature, the $8 million set-aside could fund the massive hydroxychloroquine order that . Officials say their idea is to procure the medicine for 200,000 coronavirus patients and distribute it to drug stores across the state, where it would be available...

April 23, 2020
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Utah tech CEO behind TestUtah showed early interest in malaria drugs

Utah tech CEO behind TestUtah showed early interest in malaria drugs

Seven weeks ago, as the coronavirus began to spread in Utah, the CEO of an Orem software company called on his colleagues in the tech sector to save the state’s health care industry from itself. Otherwise, he warned, squabbling among hospitals, labs and insurance companies would hamper the response to the pandemic. “Let’s solve it,” Nomi Health CEO Mark Newman wrote in an email to other tech entrepreneurs. “We pay for it. We pay manufacturers of tests. Labs and pharmacies directly for testing + med packs for our employees and families. No noise. On top of that like Tom’s shoes we match each...

May 2, 2020
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From the start, team of Utah business execs planned how to screen, test and distribute malaria drug for COVID-19

From the start, team of Utah business execs planned how to screen, test and distribute malaria drug for COVID-19

Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is providing free access to critical stories about the coronavirus. Sign up for , sent to your inbox every weekday morning. To support journalism like this, please or become a . As and related efforts to distribute a controversial drug have come under scrutiny, Utah that the screening website — from its questions to which patients are referred for COVID-19 testing — has operated entirely under the direction of the state Department of Health. That is not the case, said Dr. Marc Babitz, the only Utah Department of Health (UDOH) official who has been in...

May 13, 2020
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