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COVID-19 is spreading near Utah’s tourist destinations

SUMMIT COUNTY – Health officials in Utah’s popular tourist locations are worried about the rising number of COVID-19 cases, but, they’re not planning to increase safety restrictions, yet.  Meanwhile, they’re trying to pinpoint exactly how the virus is spreading.

On Monday, officials in Summit County say they had 15 new cases of COVID-19.  The last time they had that many cases in one day was back in April.  County Council Chair Douglas Clyde says the increase in cases has them alarmed, but the rate of infection still isn’t anywhere near what it was in March when they issued a stay-at-home order.

On June 26th, Summit County mandated masks be worn in community gatherings and public indoor spaces.  Clyde says they need more time to see how effective that mandate is before they consider increasing safety restrictions.

“Our assumption is, based on the data, that it will.  The question is, will it do so significantly?” asks Clyde.

The council speaks with the Summit County Health Department every day, and they’re trying to determine what the biggest source of the virus is.  Clyde says there are many factors leading to an uptick in cases, but it’s most commonly spread among co-workers at their place of business.

“It’s not the majority, but it’s one of the larger elements,” he says.

That’s not the case for other tourist destinations, like Moab.  Chet Ingram with the Southeast Utah Health Department says most of the spread they’re seeing comes from tourists, although they can’t pinpoint if the tourists are coming from inside or outside of Utah.

Ingram says, “It’s hard to track.  There are tourists that come in from around the world.”

Grand County also has a mask mandate in place, and they’re waiting to gather more data about the viral spread in the next few days.  Ingram says they’re not considering any increase in travel restrictions to prevent out-of-towners from bringing the virus into the area.

“There’s really no way to stop them from coming in without increasing [restrictions]. But it’s a fine line,” he says.



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