Utah Governor Gary Herbert has rejected the recommendations of the state epidemiologist and others, vowing that he will not reintroduce public health restrictions despite the increased spread of COVID-19 in the state.
On June 22, an internal memo urging the Governor to consider greater restrictions was leaked to the public. The document, written by state epidemiologist Angela Dunn from the Utah Department of Health, recommended that the state add restrictions on businesses and group gatherings until new coronavirus cases drop to an average 200 cases per day. In the last week, the state has averaged over 400 cases per day.
Dunn has said publicly that the increase in cases is not due to an increase in testing, but due to greater physical interaction between Utah residents allowing the infection to spread.
“We are quickly getting to a point where the only viable option to manage spread and deaths will be a complete shutdown,” Dunn wrote.
Herbert rejected that advice in a tweet on June 22, writing that while he shared many of Dunn’s concerns, “I have no plans to shut down Utah’s economy.” The governor urged residents to wash their hands and wear facial coverings.
Gov. Herbert also indicated he opposed requiring facial coverings after a request from Salt Lake County to allow the region to require mask-wearing by members of the public. Current state guidelines require all business employees who work with the public to wear facial coverings but do not have requirements for customers or those in the public.
Those who show any symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to get tested at Moab Regional Hospital.
Tests for COVID-19 are now recommended for a those with one or more from the following list of symptoms: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, chest pressure, headache, gastrointestinal distress (vomiting or diarrhea), sore throat, muscle aches, loss of taste of smell, frequent sneezing, and/or allergy symptoms.
To talk to a nurse about symptoms and schedule a test, call the Moab Regional Hospital COVID-19 hotline at 435-719-3998.