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State officials have been scouring the color-coded system they’ve been using for months to guide their regional responses to COVID-19, changing strategy as they grapple with a record-breaking surge in cases Huh.
Starting Tuesday, transmission levels in all 29 counties will be measured based on case rate, positivity rate, and hospitalization. Each county will be listed as “high,” “medium” or “low” levels, with mask requirements, collecting size limits, and other restrictions that vary in transmission levels.
Schools are allowed to be open to in-person learning at all transmission levels according to the state. Religious services and events with “organizational oversight” are not subject to size restrictions on social ceremonies under the new system.
A fact sheet showing that the state is generally rolling back its industry-specific COVID-19 guidelines, except for restaurants, bars and establishments that allow public ceremonies.
Six counties – Salt Lake, Utah, Cache, Garfield, Juab and Wasatch – are currently designated as high transmission areas under the new system.
On Tuesday, the Utah Department of Health reported 987 new coronovirus cases. Case counts and infection rates are among the highest they have ever been, and Utah’s health care system is becoming stressful, Gary Herbert said at the news conference, where officials explained the new system.
“We are one of the worst outbreaks in the country and it is unacceptable,” Herbert said.
“Some of our hospitals are already load-leveling,” COVID-19 rotating patients to make room for patients, Herbert said. He also said that the state’s Department of Health and the National Guard are on standby to open a field hospital at the Mountain American Expo Center in Sandy.
If two or more of these criteria are met, the county will fall into the higher transmission category:
Seven-day average test positivity rate of 13% or more; A 14-day case rate of 325 or more per 100,000 people; A statewide intensive care utilization of 72% or more with at least 15% of the total beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.
With the new system, “the focus is on masks based on the level of transmission in your area, and the need for masks,” said Rich Saunders, acting director of the Utah Department of Health, who asked people across Utah Going use masks “because they help.”
In counties at “high” transmission levels, masks are required on all indoor settings, he said. He said cases of casual social gatherings are responsible for the recent spike. In “high” transmission counties, casual social gatherings are limited to 10 people or less, he said.
Masks in “medium” and “low” areas are “strongly encouraged”, Saunders said. In “liberal” counties, the limit of the assembly is 25 people or less, unless the mask is worn. In “lesser” counties, gatherings are limited to 50 or fewer people, unless masks are worn.
He said that now as a two-week “circuit breaker” from October 29, regulations will be tightened for mask use in all medium-transmission counties. In addition, medium and low-transmission counties will be asked to limit casual social gatherings to 10 people or less.
Saunders said the current mask mandates are – in Salt Lake, Summit and Grand Counties, in public schools and in all state-run businesses.
Changes will be announced weekly. “The counties can only be moved from a low level to a high level for 14 days,” said epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn. “
Saunders said businesses are expected to maintain healthy practices, and it is up to consumers whether a business is doing it or not, “he said, adding that he helped the state find businesses that use health protocols Touted the “Stay Safe to Stay Open” campaign.
For public ceremonies – such as movie theaters, sporting events, wedding venues and other venues – there is less emphasis on viewership and more on how much space operators can offer to social workers, Saunders said.
In “high” transmission counties, the distance must be 6 feet apart. For “moderate” counties, a single location is recommended, although there are more exemptions. For “lesser” counties, masks are still encouraged for patrons and employees.
“High” transmission counties require a six-foot distance in bars and restaurants. Saunders stated that equal distances are recommended in “moderate” counties, and “strongly encouraged” in “low” counties.
“Our announcement of this new system without your participation is practically nothing,” Saunders said, adding that rates will change when people’s behavior changes. “Change will make a difference,” he said.
Herbert said he expected a masked order to be awarded by individuals, without too much enforcement by the government. “I don’t doubt there will be too many people looking for violators,” he said.
“Most people are wearing masks, certainly more than we did before,” Herbert said, adding that he hopes Utahns will “jump into a new sense of collaboration.” “
“The design is not meant to impose civil penalties or cause trouble with any form of enforcement,” Saunders said. “Our goal is towards common cooperation.”
House Speaker Brad Wilson said that the new system, “most importantly, … personally holds responsibility for the response of our state with each of us.”
While COVID-19 cases have increased across the state, he said in a prepared statement, “It has become clear that the color-coded system implemented during the first weeks of the epidemic was no longer meeting the ongoing response needs. ”
The new index, Wilson said, “sets data-driven and statewide standards, empowering local elected and health officials to tailor restrictions to meet local needs.”
Herbert said on Twitter that the changes “come from round-the-clock discussions with public health experts and legislative leaders.”
Herbert said, “Like you, I’m tired of 2020. I’m tired of emergencies and social disturbances.” “It does not matter how tired we are. We should really win this battle. “
Color-coded guidelines, which classify counties into categories of red, orange, yellow, and green, have become a source of friction between state and local leaders many times during the epidemic.
More recently, Herbert has opted against Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s request to return the city to “orange,” or moderately, a ban to combat a long number of infections . On the other hand, officials of some rural communities have raided the state for refusing to move them into a less restrictive category.
The Utah Department of Health reported a seven-day average of 1,182 new positive test results per day on Tuesday – well below Saturday’s record of 1,189, but above the state’s goal of keeping fewer than 400 new cases on average per day.
Record-high numbers of new cases were reported in the past week in the Davis and Voley counties, as well as the Middle Utah, Southeast Utah and Weber-Morgan health districts.
Utah died of coronavirus at 522 on Tuesday, the same as Monday.
249 Utah patients admitted asynchronously were hospitalized on Tuesday. An average of 241 patients are receiving treatment in Utah hospitals every day since the past week – an increase began in mid-September.
In total, 4,383 patients have been hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19, from Monday to 52. Utah’s intensive care units were 65.1% occupied as of Tuesday, meeting the state’s target of less than 85% possession.
For the past week, 13.8% of all tests have come positive – a rate that indicates a large number of infected people are not being tested, state officials have said. Statewide, Utah’s positive test rate has been above 5% since May 25, according to UDHO data.
8,801 new test results came out on Tuesday, above the week’s average of 8,019 new tests per week.