Governor issues executive order moving sections of rural Utah to ‘green’ health risk status

Health officials added six new symptoms to the official diagnosis of the COVID-19 coronavirus Monday, expanding the list to nine. Illustration courtesy of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 18, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Gov. Gary R. Herbert has approved requests for nine counties to transition to “green” or “new normal” health risk status.

The decision was made in close consultation with local health authorities and with the Utah Department of Health, said a news release from the Office of the Governor.

The counties that are transitioning are Beaver, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Millard, Piute, Uintah and Wayne, beginning Friday, June 19, at 1 p.m.

Herbert issued the following statement: Limiting the spread of the coronavirus, even as we reactivate the economy, has required data-informed judgment and prudent decision making. As we move from stabilization to recovery, the health guidance in our communities will vary because of differing conditions across the state.

The nine counties moving into the “green,” or “new normal’ risk category account for a wide swath of Utah’s geography, but only 3% of Utah’s population. They also have some of Utah’s lowest case counts and hospitalization rates. The rural lifestyle they enjoy is defined by wider physical distancing, and smaller, less densely populated towns. Although no area is completely free from risk, we feel comfortable having these sparsely populated regions transition from “yellow” to “green.”

I continue to be very concerned, however, about the potential threat to hospital capacity from the increasing case counts in our more densely populated regions. As we re-engage economically, we need greater personal responsibility, not less. Utah residents must continue to keep one another safe through common-sense physical distancing, mask wearing, staying home when sick, and regular hand washing.

The language of the order will be released tomorrow at 1 p.m when the order goes into effect, officials said.

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