1,081 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday, continuing Utah’s record-breaking trend. The state has averaged 1,251 new positive test results a day for the past week, the highest average since the pandemic began according to the Utah Department of Health.
In addition to the record-breaking numbers, six new fatalities have been reported since Monday, bringing the death toll to 551. The deaths are two people from Salt Lake County and one from Cache, Utah, and San Juan counties.
In Iron County, SWUPHD announced on Tuesday that six new residents have contracted the virus, bringing the total number of active cases to 103. These statistics place Iron County in the moderate category under the new system set by Gov. Gary Herbert last week.
Restrictions in the moderate category include mask mandates and social gathering limits of 10 people until Oct. 29. These restrictions are also mandated for those counties rated as high for level of transmission with no time limit.
As the pandemic continues, government officials debate the governor’s powers during a state of emergency and discuss related policy changes, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The debate comes in response to pressure to end the state of emergency from constituents, as well as mapping previously uncharted territory for unique long term emergencies such as the pandemic.
Iron County commissioners posted an official letter debating the new guidelines Friday. The officials claimed that the new transmission index and corresponding health guidelines are a “dangerous overreach.” The commissioners emphasized that the restrictions regarding mask mandates, statistics being used and guidelines for businesses to stay open are not the best solutions for the county. The officials also committed to “work with the health department to ensure plans to protect those at highest risk.”
291 patients were currently admitted on Tuesday for treatment, adding to the weeklong average 282 patients that have been receiving treatment for COVID-19 in Utah hospitals each day — the highest weeklong average so far.
Southern Utah University reported six self-reported cases during the week of Oct. 9-14, leaving the total number of reported cases from university students, faculty and staff at 51 since the publishing of new case counts began Aug. 27. Cases for the week of Oct. 15-21 will be available on SUU’s coronavirus website on Thursday.
Story By: Larissa Beatty