The Utah Department of Health reported 987 new cases on Tuesday. In addition to the steadily high state numbers, three new cases were reported for Iron County by the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, contributing to a total of 65 new cases for areas under their jurisdiction.
In response to the surge of new cases and growing outbreak, state and health officials have decided to replace the color-coded system that has been used for regional response since the beginning of the pandemic.
As COVID-19 cases have increased across the state, Gov. Gary Herbert said in a prepared statement, “It has become evident that the color-coded system implemented during the first weeks of the pandemic was no longer meeting the needs of the ongoing response.”
Now counties will be listed as “high,” “moderate” or “low” levels. Mask requirements, gathering size limits and other restrictions will be adjusted according to these transmission levels. The new system puts emphasis on controlling spread at casual social gatherings. The Salt Lake Tribune shared more details regarding the new system.
Herbert said on Twitter that, “Utah is now facing its most dire episode yet in this epidemic. Our infections are at an all-time high. Although Utah has one of the lowest mortality rates in the country, the dramatic increase in infection puts the integrity of our health care system at risk.”
For the past week, 13.8% of all tests have come back positive — a rate that indicates a large number of infected people are not being tested, state officials have said. However 8,801 new test results were reported on Tuesday, above the weekly average of 8,019 new tests per day.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, growing groups of Utahns are declaring that they won’t get tested for COVID-19 even if they have symptoms. Given reasons included wanting schools to remain open and not wanting to quarantine for two weeks.
Story by Larissa Beatty