NEWS – “Box Elder County designated in the ‘High Transmission’ level after a surge in COVID-19 cases

BOX ELDER COUNTY – By Cari Doutre – October 27, 2020

In a press conference held in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Oct. 13, Utah Governor Gary Herbert made major changes to the state’s COVID-19 guidance system after a surge of positive cases have been reported in recent weeks.

As a result, a new state public health order was released - State Public Health Order 2020-19 adopting COVID-19 Transmission Area Restrictions.

“We are having one of the worst outbreaks in the country and this is unacceptable,” said Herbert during the press conference.

“In the last four weeks, infection rates have skyrocket to the highest they’ve ever been,” Herbert added.

And those numbers have continued to increase dramatically since then in Utah - including Box Elder County. Those numbers have officially put Box Elder County in the state's "High Transmission Level."

As of Monday, Oct. 26, Box Elder County has had 927 confirmed cases of COVID-19. In the entire Bear River Health Department’s district (includes Cache and Rich counties), there are 5,026 cases confirmed. In Utah the Utah Department of Health has their total cases at 106,083.

https://brhd.org/coronavirus/

https://coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts/

At the Oct. 13, press conference it was announced that Utah will no longer use the four-phase color-coded guidance system for individual counties. As of Oct. 15, a new three level system was incorporated replacing the color-coded phase.

“This is a moment to evaluate what has worked in the past and what has not,” said Herbert.

Counties in Utah will be designated by the state in either the High, Moderate or Low transmission levels according to statistics. New designations will be released weekly.

“The transmission index clarifies the public health metrics used to determine which counties are placed in which transmission level. Counties will be placed in one of three transmission levels: High, Moderate, or Low. These levels correspond directly to case rates, positivity rates, and ICU utilization,” as stated on the Utah Department of Health’s website.

“Data will be analyzed weekly, and counties will be placed into a transmission level depending solely on what their data show. Changes from a lower level to a higher level may occur weekly. Changes from a higher level to a lower level may occur every 14 days at minimum, when thresholds are met,” the site adds.

Those new health guidance levels can be found below in full or visit

https://coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-health-guidance-levels/

Every Thursday the Utah Department of Health will update those levels for every county in the state. In order for a county to move to a lower level certain guidelines must be met.

Box Elder County is currently designated in the “High” transmission level.

A few new requirements were also set regarding casual social gatherings in Utah. According to the state, casual social gatherings do not include “formal religious services or events with organized oversight.”

For counties designated in the "High" transmission level, which includes Box Elder County, only casual gatherings of 10 people or less are allowed.

No announcements were made during the Oct. 13, press conference regarding state-wide school closures in Utah. Individual school districts and counties currently have the authority to determine any school closures based on their area concerns and needs.

Box Elder School District schools are still operating as they have been and are open to students for onsite learning – only with a one-hour late start for all schools starting Thursday, Oct. 29.

See BRVNEWS.com’s previously posted article from Oct. 21, on that late start decision HERE.

Masks are still required, per state mandate, in all K-12 schools throughout Utah. That includes Box Elder School District.

Masks are also now required for all indoor public settings and outdoor public settings (when social distancing can't be met), according to the Utah Department of Health's website.

Utah currently has two state mandated mask orders – in all state or public owned buildings and in all K-12 schools. There is not a general state-wide mask mandate in place in Utah.

Herbert added that this decision was “not based on fear and certainly not based on politics,” during the press conference.



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