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Salt Lake City and County mayors call for statewide shutdown

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SALT LAKE CITY — The mayors of Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County want a statewide shutdown and stay home order over the coronavirus.

Five counties along the Wasatch Front now have orders. Governor Gary Herbert issued a “stay home, stay safe” directive last week, but the democratic mayors say that’s not enough.

“I fear that as cases increase if we don’t social distance in rural communities and other places that those hospitals will be overwhelmed and lives will be lost,” said County mayor Jenny Wilson in a virtual briefing.

City mayor Erin Mendenhall added to that with a video message on Twitter: “I know the virus will be slower to spread to rural areas, but it will. And when it does, it’s the metropolitan areas that will be needed to respond to the critical care needs and the hospitalization needs.”

“Even though our numbers are looking relatively good right now in the state, it doesn’t mean we should take our foot off the gas,” said Mendenhall.

The New York Times says Utah is one of 12 states with either no statewide mandate, or with different counties issuing their own orders.

Fauci: ‘I don’t understand why’ every state hasn’t issued stay-at-home orders

A governor’s spokesperson told the Deseret News “the governor’s “stay safe, stay home” directive makes it clear that all Utahns should stay home as much as possible. He expects all Utahns to comply with that directive.”

Herbert said a shelter-in-place order like in other states felt more like a war-time lockdown that could create fear.

“We just think this is a better way to approach it, a more positive route,” the governor said.

The governor’s decision not to issue a full stay-at-home order is “a recognition that while the vast bulk of the state tends to live in a very few urban areas,” others are in a different situation, said University of Utah political science professor Matthew Burbank in the Deseret News article.

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:

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