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Utah Cancels Alert System Aimed At Motorists Entering State

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The state of Utah has canceled a Coronavirus emergency alert system launched last week that was supposed to send text messages to drivers entering the state but ended up also sending texts to hundreds of people who were in their homes.

State officials announced Monday that thousands of motorists received the alerts, but the system that used cellphone towers near state borders contacted far more people than intended. The text alerts that began Friday asked motorists to fill out online forms to report virus symptoms and their recent travel histories.

Officials say people who live near the southern Utah border in St. George, the Idaho border in the northern part of the state and in the Uintah Basin of eastern Utah were hit hardest by the unintended texts.

Some annoyed recipients reported receiving 15-20 alerts from the state of Utah.

The system was shut down Monday afternoon and the state has no plans to try it again.

Utah officials will maintain billboards and signs that were erected asking motorists to fill out the online form. Cards will still be provided to arriving Salt Lake City International Airport passengers asking them to fill out the online form.

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