COVID-19 spike dispels doubts about ‘Less than 10’ effort

LOGAN – Spiking rates of coronavirus cases in Cache Valley have erased any doubts about the need for the Logan City Council’s “Less than 10: Flatten the Curve” educational initiative.

“The objective of this campaign is to bring people together in solidarity to help us achieve less than 10 local cases on a daily basis,” according to Logan city council member Jess Bradfield, speaking at the municipal council meeting on Sept. 15.

“A lot of people saw our flattening numbers (in early September) and thought that we don’t need to do this anymore,” he explained. “But we can see now (that COVID-19 precautions) are just as important as ever, particularly as we move into the regular flu season.”

That view is supported by recent COVID-19 statistics at both state and local levels.

The Utah Department of Health reported a record daily total of 1,117 new cases of COVID-19 statewide on Friday, Sept. 18. The trend of new cases declined throughout the weekend that followed, with 1,077 cases on Saturday and 920 more on Sunday.

But those figures still gave Utah a rolling seven-day average of 835 new cases, more than 50 percent higher than the rolling average that Gov. Gary Herbert hoped to achieve by Sept. 1.

Here in Cache County, the Bear River Health Department reported 35 new cases on Saturday and 26 more on Sunday, highlighting the continuing need for the Logan City Council’s educational initiative.

When Cache County’s daily counts of new COVID-19 cases were in single digits in early September, some city officials were privately concerned that funding the “Less than 10” program to the tune of $20,000 would be considered wasting taxpayers’ money.

Following outbreaks at the Cache County Jail and on the campus of Utah State University, however, the educational program forged ahead with public service announcements promoting the wearing of face coverings via print media, radio and social media, plus awards to businesses that encourage their customers to follow COVID-19 precautions.

Bradfield said that Cache County officials have also joined the educational effort, contributing $5,000 for additional radio announcements.

The educational program emphasizing the continuing need for coronavirus precautions is the centerpiece of a kinder, gentler mask policy approved by the city council members on Aug. 18. That policy took effect on Aug. 31, replacing a strict 30-day mask mandate imposed by Mayor Holly Daines on Aug. 1.

During the city council meeting on Sept. 15, chair Amy Z. Anderson stressed that the “Less than 10” program isn’t just about urging local residents and visitors to wear face coverings.

In addition to promoting mask-wearing, Bradfield explained, the city’s education initiative “congratulates the successful efforts of Cache Valley residents … to mitigate coronavirus, rewards behaviors that continue to lower case counts and recognizes and rewards businesses that exemplify the behaviors that have led to Cache Valley’s success against the coronavirus.”

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