This week, we will be having committee meetings which will be held electronically. You will be able to provide comments during live committee meetings virtually by submitting a request to speak at least 12 hours before the meeting is scheduled to begin. Read more about the process here and here. Your input is critical in the work that I do. Please reach out to me if you have any issues navigating the public comment process.
As the three-day weekend finishes, I want to pay a special tribute to the courageous military service members who devoted their lives defending and preserving the freedom of our great country. Memorial Day helps me remember the great individuals who have died to safeguard our freedoms.
May we honor and celebrate those who sacrificed for our beautiful country.
Here are some COVID-19 Updates
• Individuals in high-risk categories should continue following stricter guidelines even as much of Utah is transitioning to lesser health risk status. Learn more here.
• Earlier this week, Utah leaders released the Utah Leads Together 3.0 plan, which builds on previous versions. It includes guidance for high-risk individuals and outlines steps to help ensure multicultural communities are getting the help they need, and an economic response aimed at protecting lives and livelihoods. Read the 3.0 plan here.
• On May 22, Gov. Herbert, in close consultation with local health authorities and the Utah Department of Health, approved requests for the municipalities of Bluff and Mexican Hat to transition to moderate (orange) health risk status. Read more here and the executive order here.
• On May 21, Gov. Herbert issued an executive order, in consultation with the Utah Department of Health and the Summit and Wasatch County Health Departments, to transition Summit County and Wasatch County to low (yellow) health risk status. Read the full order here.
• The Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission unanimously recommended legislation to protect personal data that has been used by the state to help address the COVID-19 health crisis be considered during a special session. The Commission recommended the Legislature codify the permissible uses of digital technologies by the state and the requirement to delete the data when it is no longer needed to address COVID-19 concerns. Read more here.
• The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program is now available for Utahns. Eligible individuals may receive up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits. This is the fifth and final CARES Act program to be implemented in the state. Read more here.
• Utah's most recent unemployment report for the week of May 10-16. For the first time during the COVID-19 health crisis, more people ended their unemployment insurance claim in Utah than filing a new claim. It is anticipated to become a weekly trend as more businesses open and people transition back to work. Unemployment insurance claims dropped 12 percent from the previous week, though it is still a 455 percent increase from the average weekly claims in 2019.
The number of new claims filed was 6,275 and 101,389 weekly claims were filed during that same week. A total of $26,858,365 was paid in traditional unemployment benefits, and an additional $48,667,041 of the $600 weekly stimulus was paid out to claimants—a total of $75,525,406 in unemployment benefits for the week. There were 2,604 new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims submitted. Read more here.
• The Utah Office of Child Care launched a Summer 2020 Supplemental Grant program to help support families. The grants will provide funding from the CARES Act to organizations statewide offering in-person summer programming for school-age children up to age 12. Read more here.
• The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is making $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the COVID-19 health crisis. Agriculture providers not eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans may receive funding under USDA Business & Industry Cares Act Program provisions. Read more here.
• The United States Department of Health and Human Services announced a collaboration between the company AstraZeneca and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to accelerate the development and manufacturing of an investigational vaccine, AZD1222. Read more here.
• The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration, announced $225 million in funding through the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act to Rural Health Clinics for COVID-19 testing. Read more here.
• As of May 22, at 11:00 a.m. Utah's private and public laboratories have administered 186,834 tests with 8,057 testing positive. There have been 93 fatalities, with an estimated 4,748 recovered. Additional information can be found here.