SALT LAKE CITY — The daily count of COVID-19 cases reported by the Utah Department of Health revealed an additional 590 cases on Thursday as at least two county officials looked for stronger rules around wearing masks.
The total number of cases in Utah now sits at 19,374, according to Tom Hudachko of the UDOH.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, health officials say 1,290 people required hospitalization as a result of COVID-19, an increase of 34 people since yesterday.
“Right now there are 170 positive COVID-19 cases currently hospitalized,” Hudachko said.
On Thursday, the UDOH also reported one death associated with COVID-19. Health officials said the victim was a male patient between the ages of 45-64 who was not hospitalized at the time of death. It is unknown whether the patient was in a long-term care facility.
Summit County requests permission to enforce masks
Summit County officials, including Summit County Health Director Dr. Rich Bullough, have asked Gov. Gary Herbert for permission to enforce a mandatory mask order in Summit County.
On Tuesday, county officials wrote a letter to General Jefferson Burton, interim director of the Utah State Department of Health, requesting permission to enforce the order in the interest of public health.
The letter states infection rates within the county have increased since moving to “yellow.” Since June 10, Summit County has see an uptick in transmission rates and positive cases. “Our more recent trends are of great concern and strongly suggest we are heading the wrong direction since moving to Yellow,” said county officials.
They are particularly concerned about the rise in hospitalizations. In their request, county officials cited Intermountain Health Care’s (IHC) recent concern that it will reach ICU capacity at some point in July.
IHC is the sole provider of health care in Summit County, with only 4 intensive care unit (ICU) beds at their facility there. Officials also pointed to concerns made by state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn in a memo to UDOH.
In Dr. Dunn’s memo, she suggests Utah move back to “orange” if cases continue to increase. Summit County wrote they wouldn’t be able to survive another financial setback. “Our business community and resort economy simply cannot endure a return to Moderate Risk (Orange) without suffering catastrophic economic damage. We need an expedient solution,” said county officials.
Summit County leaders want to make mask-wearing mandatory for anybody standing in a line to enter any public space. They would also like to require masks for anybody who interacts with the public at their workplace, and any place where workers prepare or package food for sale or distribution.
Masks in Salt Lake County
By Thursday afternoon, Salt Lake County residents still awaited a decision from state officials as to whether Herbert would grant a request from Mayor Jenny Wilson. She asked the state to grant her the power to mandate the wearing of face masks in all retail and commercial establishments.
Mayor Wilson would like to implement this policy by the weekend.
Wednesday, Herbert said he planned to meet with stakeholders to review the request. However, he said if the data supported it, he was “inclined” to grant it. He expected to announce that decision Thursday.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirusis 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.
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707
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