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Mask Mandate Issued In Utah County After Coronavirus Spike

(Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

AMERICAN FORK, Utah – The Utah County Health Department has issued a county-wide mask mandate effective immediately, due to the rising rate of coronavirus cases.

County Commissioner Tanner Ainge tweeted about the mandate Tuesday evening. He said the county government, Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Utah Valley Chamber, local mayors and members of the business community issued a joint letter about the decision.

The mandate come hours after Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah Department of Health announced the decision to move Provo and Orem back from the Yellow risk level to Orange.

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said half of the recent spike in coronavirus cases were attributed to Utah County.

“This is the first time that we have rolled restrictions backward,” Herbert said.”We recognize these adjustments will cause some inconvenience, but frankly, intervention is needed. And at this point, it’s either a little pain now or a lot more pain later.”

Officials said they were concerned about overwhelming the county’s hospitals.

“If the recent trajectory of cases were to continue, our healthcare system’s capacity could be at risk and the entire County may be put back into the Orange Level restrictions,” they said in a joint letter.

There was concern about spreading the virus into more of the county’s vulnerable population.

“While our youngest and healthiest residents may not be as susceptible to the severe symptoms of this virus—an outbreak places many of our more vulnerable residents at risk and also threatens to limit our ability to continue the economic, educational, social and recreational activities that help this community thrive,” the letter read.

The mandate has been issued for 30 days, which could be reduced if “certain metrics are achieved,” the letter stated.

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