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Gov. Herbert announces new health leadership for coronavirus

Gov. Gary Herbert addressed reporters via remote teleconference Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2020. Photo: KSL

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert says that the state of Utah is single-minded in its plan to slow down and stop the spread of coronavirus, as he announced a new leader to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Utah Department of Health.

In addition to stressing the importance of following the health guidelines passed down from state and federal health officials to continue to stay home, keep a safe social distance from others, and continue to properly wash hands.

“We’re still in the early days,” Herbert said during a news conference held on Tuesday.

“But I appreciate what I see happening in the community out there at large people are showing great acts of kindness and trying to help each other. That is the Utah way. We lead the nation in volunteerism, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if people are stepping up and volunteering and trying to help those who need help, and we need to continue to do that.

All hands on deck

“Government can’t do it all. We need the private sector to step up, and we as neighbors and community leaders and all people, to see what we can do to find our role and make sure we help things to happen,” Herbert said.

Herbert said that testing is the key to helping Utah overcome the coronavirus pandemic and that it is still the biggest challenge that the state faces.

It is a challenge, and it is also the solution. If we can get enough testing done, help us find who’s got the coronavirus. We can isolate them and protect society, and protect them and help them get cured.”

Herbert says that there will be more information coming in the next few days as the state continues to strive to hit its goal of testing 7,000 individuals for COVID-19 every day.

Herbert: new coronavirus leadership at Dept. of Health

Courtesy National Guard

Governor Herbert appointed Ret. Adjutant General Jefferson Burton to lead the day-to-day operations of the Utah Department of Health. 

Herbert says that Dr. Joseph Miner will continue to head the Department of Health, but because health issues forced him to stay home, the day-to-day operations will be turned over to Burton.

General Burton has significant background, not only in the military, but in disaster planning and response. So his abilities and training will make him ideal to come in and help us ramp up this surge effort,” Herbert said.

Burton led the Utah National Guard from October 2012 until his retirement earlier this year.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

State of Utah:  https://coronavirus.utah.gov/

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States