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Governor Herbert shares concerns from Dunn Memo, says will not shut down economy

File photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert has responded to a memo from the state epidemiologist Dr. Anglea Dunn where she warns that Utah is in an acceleration phase and calls for the state to return to an Orange level if the spike in new cases doesn’t slow.

The governor says he shares Dunn’s concerns but won’t shut down the economy over coronavirus again.

That memo said cases are rising too fast, but Herbert said he is working to stem the tide.

The number of new cases of COVID-19 have surged since May 27, 12 days after most of the state moved to yellow. Dunn says that 

The Deseret News looked at what is driving the surge and say health officials blame a lack of preventative actions taken by Utahns.

 

“I’m afraid that people when they hear we’re going to yellow or we’re going to green, what people assume is that is less risky. It’s in fact the opposite. The risk increases with the more opening up we have,” said Dr. Sankar Swaminathan, chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at University of Utah Health.

One of the areas on the west side of Salt Lake City has some of the highest rates of COVID-19. And three out of four outbreaks have been in the workplace.

The state health department says they are working on new messaging to help businesses take more precautions and safety steps.

Governor Herbert tweeted, ‘Our plan will only be as successful as the willingness of people to protect themselves and their loved ones from the spread of the virus by following our common-sense guidelines for social distancing, good hand hygiene and especially the use of face coverings.’