SALT LAKE CITY – In a statewide speech to the residents of Utah, Governor Gary Herbert announced a new emergency for COVID-19 including statewide masking regulations, which limit the social gatherings and suspension of extracurricular activities in schools.
The address came late Sunday after an emergency alert was sent to every mobile phone in Utah by the state. The state has recorded thousands of new viral infections over the past week, with deaths rising and hospitals nearing capacity.
Governor Herbert̵7;s speech on COVID-19
“The down payment is very high. Life is at risk as COVID-19 cases soar and we report record admissions and new deaths daily. Our hospitals are full. This threatens patients who are relying on hospital care – because everything from COVID-19 to emergencies like heart attack, stroke, surgery and trauma. working together to keep infections low until vaccines are available, “the governor said.
Governor Herbert has announced new public health orders, effective at 1pm on Monday, which will include:
- A statewide mask regulation requires people to wear masks in public, within 6 meters from people they do not live in. The mandate can be performed in all properties, with signage requirements. Businesses that fail to do so will be penalized.
- Regular social gatherings will be limited to family until November 23.
- All school extracurricular activities – including internal events – are held for the duration of an order. The only exceptions are college football games or high school championship games that are subject to the crowd-size and testing restrictions outlined in the public health order.
- Students at university facilities across Utah will be required to test COVID-19 weekly. FOX 13 first reports on the plan on Friday, which includes the implementation of quick tests that can deliver results in 15 minutes.
- Utah National Guard will be deployed to help track down more communications to address the spread of the virus in communities and quarantines.
Violating public orders can result in fines of up to $ 10,000 per incident and will be enforced by health officials and law enforcement. They will expire on 23 November unless renewed by Governor Herbert.
The move comes as Utah political leaders are facing increasing pressure to do something as cases of COVID-19 rise. The governor has been heavily criticized by some public health workers, even defending the state’s response to balancing “life and livelihood”, health and economy.
“I think this is a good first step.” If you look at our case rates over the past two to four weeks and now, says Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious disease specialist at Intermountain Healthcare. You look at our hospital admissions increasing and going up over the course of the week, you really have to do something. I think this is a great recognition of the fact that he is moving forward and he realizes that listening, we have to do something as a community if we want to change. change the way we are going. “
“We’re already complete” when it comes to their intensive care units, which are relied upon to treat some COVID-19 cases, says Dr. Stenejhem. The patients were transferred to other units for care.
“We are at a point where we won’t be able to receive more and more patients,” he said.
The new orders bring more requests to businesses, but don’t close them. There are also no additional restrictions on public schools, said Dr. Sydnee Dickson, director of public schools.
“This is not a mission on school closings, so this is really looking at the off-school ecosystem,” she told FOX 13 on Sunday night. “Clubs, activities, things going on in the community and trying to stop the spread there, where it seems to be entering the school from extracurricular activities.”
Those extracurricular activities will be suspended for this time. Health officials said the spread was largely due to 14-24 year olds, who largely obeyed school campus health regulations, but then went out and gathered with friends or family, don’t wear a mask and don’t care and spread the virus from there.
“We must all be on guard until the vaccine is widely available,” Governor Herbert said. “But we cannot wait for a vaccine, knowing the devastation this pandemic has caused on homes, schools and businesses. We have to do more, and we must. That is why I have issued these important orders and duties.No law or executive order can establish citizenship, respect, and consideration. This is more of a matter than a duty. It is about personal responsibility. “