A 1st in the pandemic: Utah moves Provo-Orem back to orange; Rich County goes green

Gov. GaryHerbert listens to a question from a member of the media during a COVID-19 briefing at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020.

In a decision intended to stem the surge of coronavirus cases in Utah County, Provo and Orem Wednesday will be back to the orange or moderate category of restrictions.

The announcement was made during the Governor’s COVID-19 press briefing by the Interim Director of the Utah Department of Health, Rich Saunders.

Rich Saunders, interim executive director of the Utah Department of Health, speaks during a COVID-19 briefing at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020.

“This change will be effective at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020,” said Saunders. “We’ve had great conversations with elected officials of Utah County and the local health department. We understand there are also considering a county-wide mask mandate, and we’re encouraged by that discussion because we know that wearing masks influence, in a positive direction, the spread of the virus.”

Gov. Gary Herbert concluded Tuesday’s briefing with a potential outcome to the recent spikes in cases.

“This is a challenging time for Utah County, particularly Orem and Provo, but there’s reason to believe we can get out of this in a relatively short period of time. I think the energy is there. Certainly the desire of elected officials and the desire of the business community. I hope the constituents at large can say ‘What can I do to help us solve this problem and stem the pandemic surge and make sure this is just a spike and not a trend?’”

In other news from the Tuesday briefing, one of the three counties in the Bear River Health District — Rich County — became the 14th of the state’s 29 counties moved to “green.”

Including 650 new coronavirus cases reported Tuesday, the state’s current seven-day rolling average grew to 857 new positives a day. The previous week-long average of 671 new daily cases was recorded in July.

Another closely watched metric is the rate of daily tests that turn out to be positive and Tuesday that figure increased again, this time to 13.9 percent, another new record in Utah.

Tuesday’s new numbers from the Bear River Health Department included 29 new cases in the district (25 in Cache County and four in Box Elder County).

There have been 3,144 positive cases over the course of the pandemic in the Bear River Health District, 2,598 in Cache County, 532 in Box Elder County and 14 in Rich County.

Of the positives in the district, 2,569 are considered “recovered”. There are two patients from Cache County hospitalized in the district.

As of Tuesday the number of currently hospitalized COVID patients had grown to 161. From the beginning of the outbreak, total hospitalizations are 3,550.

Also, the total number of positive cases detected since early-March has grown to 65,044. Among those positive tests in Utah since the outbreak in March, 51,945 are considered recovered.

The have been 443 COVID-19 deaths in Utah which is two more than Monday.

As of Tuesday 768,959 tests have been administered in the six months of the pandemic.

The most recent Idaho report shows 37,901 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There have been 447 COVID deaths in the state with 85 positive tests in Franklin County, 35 positives in Bear Lake County and 23 in Oneida County.


craig@cvradio.com

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