Utah Governor Supports Summit County Stay-at-home Order
Anna Lehnardt, a spokesperson from Gov. Gary Herbert’s office, says the governor was notified Wednesday afternoon of Summit County’s decision to issue a stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Given the infection rate in that area of the state, we understand and support their decision to issue this order at this time,” Lenhardt said.
Summit County is the first in the state to implement such a policy, which prohibits residents from leaving their homes, except for essential tasks and services. After considering the projected rise in cases, Summit County Deputy Health Director Phil Bondurant says a number of key figures supported the policy.
“This was a decision made by our elected officials and leadership in Summit County, based on our individual circumstances," Bondurant said. "While the governor did show support for the efforts that we've taken, we've had support from the Utah Department of Health.”
State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn says the state health department works with local governments daily to assess each area’s situation and make recommendations to lower the spread of COVID-19. Dunn says Summit County is bearing the brunt of cases in the state, given the number of positive test results.
“We have a five percent positive rate for Utah overall — Summit County is up to 30 to 35% positive rate for just their county,” Dunn said. “So, they are really heavily impacted.”
Summit County’s incident rate per capita is 20 times that of Salt Lake County. With the high density of cases, Dunn says the state is supporting Summit County by providing recommendations for quarantine and assistance with contact tracing, the process of identifying everyone who had close contact with an individual who has tested positive and determining their risk of infection.
“We do have one CDC employee who is assigned to them who is working with them directly to do that as well," Dunn said. "So, it’s definitely a team effort, and we’re providing all the support we can to Summit right now.”
The stay-at-home order takes effect Friday, and the Summit County Health Department will revisit it in 14 days. Otherwise, it’s effective until May 1.
Although the state is constantly considering other public health interventions, Dunn says the department of health currently has no plans to issue a statewide stay-at-home order.