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Health officials urge caution as nine more Utah counties move to green

Gov. Gary Herbert addresses reporters. (PHOTO: KSL TV via Facebook)

SALT LAKE CITY — Nine mostly rural Utah counties are moving to green in the state’s coronavirus response plan: Beaver, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Millard, Piute, Uintah, and Wayne. 

Utah counties moving to green

The counties moving to green in Utah currently have very low COVID-19 case rates and almost no hospitalizations. Governor Gary Herbert says only three percent of Utah’s population lives in those counties, with many people already living a socially distant lifestyle.

Southwest Utah Public Health Department spokesman Dave Heaton says they asked the governor to move some of the counties they oversee to green, which he did on Friday. 

“Beaver County, of the ones that went green today, just had one case reported in their history of the pandemic so far. We felt pretty comfortable that they could go to that green status to keep their economy going even more and allow gatherings of healthy people,” Heaton said. 

Precautions still encouraged

Even so, health officials are urging everyone to take precautions to keep COVID-19 from spreading, like wearing masks and staying socially distant in the supermarket. 

The guidelines also apply to tourists taking in Utah’s natural beauty.

“That’s the healthy thing to do to be outdoors. We still want to have people keep distance between households. If you’re out fishing, or hiking, or visiting a National Park or State Park, it’s still essential to maintain the distance and wear a mask,” Heaton said.

The green risk level does not mean those counties or Kane County, which went to green last week, are back to normal. People and employers must follow federal, state, and local health guidelines; state officials also strongly encourage the wearing of masks. 

Experts urge those at high-risk of getting COVID-19 to stay away from anyone who is sick. They advise those at risk not to travel to high-risk areas. Above all, health officials say, everyone should continue advanced hygiene practices like using hand sanitizer.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, 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