LOCAL NEWS

Utah Will Maintain Current Coronavirus Risk Levels For Now, Gov. Herbert Says

Jun 5, 2020, 12:00 PM | Updated: 8:28 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gov. Gary Herbert on Friday announced his Utah COVID-19 health risk status order will be extended to June 12.

Currently, most of the state is in the yellow, or low-risk, level. Salt Lake City, Bluff and Mexican Hat, however, are in the orange, or moderate risk level.

Herbert said he acknowledged the recommendations of the Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission, which voted earlier in the week to move the state to a green, or “new normal” level as rapidly as possible.

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn on Wednesday said she would not recommend such a move, however, following more than a week of new cases totaling 200 or more each day.

In a one-on-one with KSL’s Dave McCann, Dunn said she’s greatly concerned with coronavirus numbers across Utah and with the investigation into a meatpacking plant that has been linked to a spike in Cache County COVID-19 cases.

“Common sense requires keeping our current health risk guidance in place,” Herbert said. “We all want to return to more normal patterns of life as soon as possible, but we also do not want to take a step back in our progress against this disease and our reactivation of the economy.”

“A marked increase in disease incidence and in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 give us pause,” he added.

Herbert said the state will continue to analyze data trends and will focus on balancing overall health risks and protecting high-risk populations.

“Utah’s yellow phase guidance emphasizes taking common sense precautions so that we can safely resume regular social and economic pursuits,” he said. “Under yellow risk status there are no economic activities that are categorically prohibited if common sense precautions are in place.”

The governor noted Utah has shown the ability to make progress and slow the spread of the virus while also reactivating the economy. He asked resident to practice social distancing and good hygiene.

“And I strongly urge Utahns to use face coverings,” he said. “I know that wearing masks looks and feels different, but it is an easy, low-cost practice that will help us return to normal.”

He noted he believes wearing masks has helped to reduce the asymptomatic spread of the virus among state officials who have been working together in close quarters.

Herbert said that as the Utah Department of Health evaluates data-informed recommendations from local health deparmtents, some rural counties in the state could move to the green “new normal” status before the end of the month.

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Utah Will Maintain Current Coronavirus Risk Levels For Now, Gov. Herbert Says