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Gov. Herbert announces parts of state to move to “yellow”

(Governor Gary Herbert, speaking at Merit Medical April 21, 2020. Photo credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY — Most of the non-urban areas of Utah will transition from orange to yellow in the state’s COVID-19 response plan, according to Gov. Gary Herbert. 

Herbert: who’s orange and who’s yellow?

In a news conference Thursday, Herbert said Grand, Summit and Wasatch Counties will remain in the “orange” zone. Salt Lake City and West Valley City will also remain at “orange.” 

But the rest of the state, including some more populated areas including St. George, will move to yellow, Herbert said.

Utah officials set up a color-coded plan to explain the slow return to “normal” in the state at the beginning of the outbreak here. Red, the most restrictive category, was where Utah was until earlier this month. 

Even though restrictions are easing for most of the state, Herbert says people still need to do the things that flattened the curve in the first place.  Visits to hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities are going to be limited.  People will still be asked to telecommute to work.  Plus, face masks should still be used, especially in places where social distancing can’t be maintained.

“I hope the use of masks becomes something we all want to do,” Herbert said.

Also, certain travel guidelines are being loosened.  Rest stops, RV parks and campsites may open as long as they follow certain guidelines.  Plus, teams sports will also be allowed, but leagues can’t operate exactly as they did before the shutdown.

Herbert said, “Again, with certain criteria in place.  Checking symptoms for those participating in the sporting activity, itself.  Spectators that come will have to be socially distanced.”

“Coronavirus is a bully”

In the news conference making the announcement, state officials said Utah residents who are over 65 or who have underlying health conditions remain the most at-risk population for COVID-19. 

Doctors say people with certain health concerns should consider themselves as “high risk” in being hospitalized if they contract the virus.

University of Utah Health CEO, Dr. Michael Good said, “They include lung disease, especially asthma, serious heart conditions and immune-compromised states.”  Other factors include obesity and diabetes.

Over 90% of those who have died from COVID-19 in Utah were over 65 and also had serious medical conditions, Good said.

“Coronavirus is a bully,” Good said. “It finds and it attacks at-risk individuals. Coronavirus finds and attacks older members of our community. Coronavirus finds and attacks those that have other medical conditions.”

However, there were also some “good” numbers to celebrate, Good said, which are part of the reason Herbert said the state can transition, in part, to yellow. 

99% of Utahns who contracted coronavirus are recovering from it, Good said. 92% recover at home and require no hospitalization.

In the latest round of COVID-19 numbers released by the Utah Department of Health, the state recorded an increase of 129 positive test results for a total of 6,749. State officials estimate around 3,500 have recovered so far.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads 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

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

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