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Government officials are removing the color-coded system they have been using for months to target regional responses to COVID-1
From Tuesday, the level of transmission in each of the 29 counties will be measured based on the frequency of cases, the degree of positivity and hospitalizations. Each county will be included in the list as “high”, “moderate” or “low” levels, with mask requirements, collection size limits and other restrictions varying according to transmission levels.
According to the state, schools can remain open for personal learning at all levels of transmission. Religious services and events with “organizational supervision” are not subject to restrictions on the amount of social gatherings under the new system.
The fact sheet shows that the state usually returns its industry-specific guidelines for COVID-19, with the exception of restaurants, bars and pubs that allow public gatherings.
Currently, six counties – Salt Lake, Utah, Cash, Garfield, Juab and Wasac – are currently designated as high-transmission areas under the new system.
The Utah Department of Health reported 987 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday. The number of cases and the frequency of infections are the highest they have ever been, and the health care system in Utah is straining, Governor Gary Herbert said at a news conference where officials explained the new system.
“We have one of the worst outbreaks in the country, and that’s unacceptable,” Herbert said.
“Some of our hospitals are already leveling the load,” moving patients to make room for patients with COVID-19, Herbert said. He added that the state health department and the National Guard are ready to open a field hospital at the Mountain American Expo Center in Sandy.
Columns will fall into the high-pass category if two or more of these criteria are met:
A seven-day mean positive test of 13% or more; 14-day frequency of 325 or more per 100,000 people; and the use of intensive care in the state of 72% or higher, with at least 15% of the total beds occupied by patients with COVID-19.
With the new system, the focus is on masks and masks are required based on the level of transmission in your area, said Rich Saunders, acting director of the Utah Department of Health, adding that Utah people have been asked to use masks “because they help. “
In districts with a “high” level of transmission, masks are required in all internal settings, he said. Casual social gatherings, he added, are responsible for much of the recent jump in cases. And in the “high” districts of the show, occasional social gatherings are limited to 10 people or less, he said.
In the “temperate” and “low” areas, masks are “highly encouraged,” Saunders said. In “temperate” counties, the limit is 25 people or less, unless masks are worn. In “low” districts, gatherings are limited to 50 or fewer people, unless masks are worn.
But as a two-week “switch” from now until October 29, the rules for using masks will be tightened in all districts with moderate transmission, he said. Also, counties with moderate and low transmission will be told to limit occasional social gatherings to 10 people or less.
Existing mandates – in Salt Lake, the top counties and the Grand, in public schools and all state-owned enterprises – remain in place, Saunders said.
The changes will be announced weekly. “Counties can be moved from higher to lower levels only after spending at least 14 days at that lower level,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.
Businesses are expected to maintain healthy practices, and consumers need to assess whether businesses are doing so, “Saunders said. He highlighted the state’s” Stay Safe to Stay Open “campaign to help companies that use health protocols.
For public gatherings – such as movie theaters, sporting events, wedding venues and other venues – the focus is less on the number of visitors and more on how much space the operator can provide in a social distance space, Saunders said.
In “high” transmission counties, the distance should be 6 feet. The same space is recommended for “temperate” districts, although there are more exceptions. For “low” counties, masks are still encouraged for patrons and employees.
It takes a distance of six feet in bars and restaurants in counties with “high” transmission. The same distancing is recommended in “medium” counties and “strongly encouraged” in “low” counties, Saunders said.
“Our announcement of this new system without your participation is practically nothing,” Saunders said, adding that tariffs will change when people’s behavior changes. “Change will make a difference,” he said.
Herbert said he expects the mandate to be honored by individuals without much government imposition. “I have no idea that there will be many people looking for violators,” he said.
“Most people wear a mask, certainly a lot more than we used to,” Herbert said, adding that he hopes Utah “will jump together in a new spirit of cooperation.”
“The design is not to impose civil penalties or create problems with any method of enforcement,” Saunders said. “Our goal is to work together.”
Parliament Speaker Brad Wilson said the new system, “most importantly, … places responsibility for our state’s response to each of us individually.”
As COVID-19 cases have increased across the country, he said in a statement, “it has become clear that the color coding system implemented in the first weeks of the pandemic no longer meets the needs of the ongoing response.”
The new index, Wilson said, “is data-driven and sets state standards, while empowering local elected officials and health officials to adjust constraints to meet local needs.”
Herbert said on Twitter that the changes came from “days of round-the-clock discussions with public health experts and legislative leaders.”
“Like you, I’m tired of 2020. I’m tired of emergencies and social distancing,” Herbert said. “It doesn’t matter how tired we are. In fact, we must win this battle. “
Color-coded guidelines that classify counties into red, orange, yellow, and green categories have sometimes become a source of friction between state and local leaders during the pandemic.
Most recently, Herbert chose not to grant Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s request to return the city to “orange” or moderate restrictions to fight the growing number of infections. On the other hand, officials in some rural communities oppose the state because they refuse to move them to a less restrictive category.
The Utah Department of Health on Tuesday reported an average of 1,182 new positive test results per day in seven days – below a record of 1,189 on Saturday, but far above the state’s goal of maintaining weekly averages to less than 400 new cases per day.
A record number of new cases have been reported in Davis and Twell counties in the past week, as well as in the health districts of Central Utah, Southeast Utah and Weber-Morgan.
Utah’s deaths from coronavirus were 522 on Tuesday, the same as Monday’s.
Hospitalizations were stable on Tuesday, with 249 Utah patients admitted at the same time, UDOH reported. An average of 241 patients have been treated in Utah hospitals every day for the past week – continuing the rise that began in mid-September.
A total of 4,383 patients were hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19, up 52 from Monday. Utah’s intensive care units have been occupied by 65.1% since Tuesday, meeting the state’s target of less than 85% employment.
In the last week, 13.8% of all tests have returned positive – a percentage that shows that a large number of infected people are not being tested, government officials said. According to UDOH in Utah, the percentage of positive tests is over 5% since May 25.
8,801 new test results were reported on Tuesday, above the weekly average of 8,019 new tests per day.