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0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02e0000KPCW's COVID-19 news coverage for Summit County and Wasatch County, Utah. 0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02f0000You can also visit the Utah Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites for additional information.

Gov. Herbert, State Officals Give an Update on the COVID-19 Pandemic

 Governor Gary Herbert said Utah’s doing very well in comparison to other states, during a press conference Thursday. He said Utah’s average caseload is around 400 new cases daily, but he wants to get that average below 400. 


Herbert said Utah’s hospitalization rates are in “good shape.” About 50 percent of hospital beds are available to those in need. But he said they’re ready for anything. 


"In case we have a resurgence and we have an increase in infection, we're prepared for that," he said. "Now, we hope for the best, but we are preparing for the worst."


But Herbert said as temperatures start to drop, state officials have new variables to consider.


"As we head into the fall, we have schools now reconvening, we're gonna have more indoor activities now and less outdoor activities," Herbert said. "We have a concern that that's maybe more conducive for spreading the virus when you're indoors as opposed to outdoors."


On Thursday, Herbert announced that Box Elder and Carbon County are now in the Green phase of the COVID-19 response plan. He said as more counties move towards the “new normal,” they have to continue to follow protocols.


"If we're going to, in fact, get through this thing over the next year, we need to, in fact, sacrifice and tolerate some inconvenience," he said. "And if we do that, I think we're going to be fine. So that's my biggest worry is people just become lackadaisical about following protocols."


Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, gave an update on goals for the state. One of them is to keep the mortality rate under 1%. 


Cox also said state officials hope to keep unemployment below 4.5%. He said one of the tools officials will use to keep unemployment low is a consumer confidence index. 


"If our businesses are practicing safety measures, people will feel better and feel more confident going back and going back to stores going back to doing business.," Cox said. "If they know that they've lowered the risk of contracting the coronavirus."


Cox said officials want to reduce the number of cases associated with work places to less than 70 per week, which he hopes will lower the unemployment rates and increase the consumer confidence index. 


Jessica joins KPCW as a general assignment reporter and Sunday Weekend Edition host. A Florida native, she graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in English — concentrating in film studies — and journalism. Before moving to Utah, she spent time in Atlanta, GA.
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