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Dr. Angela Dunn: “Optimistic” some places in Utah could move to “yellow” June 1st

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn answered questions from reporters on Monday, April 13, 2020. Photo: KSL

SALT LAKE CITY – Several cities and counties in Utah want to loosen their COVID-19 restrictions as soon as the first of June. State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn calls that timeline “optimistic”, but she’s also hopeful that could happen. 

Dr. Dunn was on KSL News Radio’s daily Coronavirus Call-In show when she was asked about Cache County’s plan to resume youth sports. 

She said she was hopeful some places could move their risk level down from “orange” to “yellow” on June 1st, but also reminded people and young athletes they would still have to take precautions. 

 

“During ‘yellow’ and, of course, in June, it doesn’t look the same as it did pre-COVID. Nothing might ever look the same,” said Dr. Dunn. “It still includes screening players and coaches for fever and symptoms [of COVID-19]. It includes elements of social distancing when possible and, of course, those hygiene practices will be essential.”

Areas designated “yellow” would be allowed to reopen schools as well as most businesses. Groups would be restricted to no more than 50 people.    

Dr. Dunn said there are some benchmarks they are looking at before letting a place transition to “yellow.” 

“The specific data that we’re looking at is making sure the hospitals in the counties have excess capacity and that they’re able to care for any potential surge in COVID patients…The other indicator we’re looking at is, of course, case count. We want to make sure that we’re seeing a plateau and a decrease,” Dunn said. 

The last is a transmission rate of 1:1, meaning a person with COVID-19 is likely to infect only one other person. 

Dr. Dunn also took questions about how the virus is spreading in Utah. She noted most people here get COVID-19 from another person in their household. She believes that shows social distancing is working to slow the spread.