© 2022 KPCW

KPCW
Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local News
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.

New COVID-19 Guidelines Mandate Masks in Wasatch County, Restrict Gatherings In Summit and Wasatch

kpcw-covid19-consolidated-coverage_0_3.jpg

There are new rules in Utah to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Under the restrictions announced Tuesday, there can be no gatherings of more than 10 people in both Wasatch and Summit counties for the next two weeks.  And Wasatch residents have to wear masks, just like Summit County residents.

 

Utah will now categorize counties as high, moderate or low risk for COVID-19, which replaces the old color-coded guide, with red being high-risk and green being low-risk.

Governor Gary Herbert said officials made the switch because new COVID-19 cases are hovering around 1,000 per day and ICU utilization is nearing 70% capacity.

Herbert said the new guidelines are based on data and science.

“I'm announcing a new system that will provide trusted guidance based on epidemiology and medical science,” Herbert said. “This guidance system is based on the calculated amount of infection and transmission that happens in our communities, and provides Utahns with concrete actions to help stem that spread.”

The level is determined by the 7-day average of positive tests, the 14-day average of case rates in a county, and the number of ICU beds being used statewide.

Summit County is considered at a moderate level and Wasatch County is one of only six counties considered at a high risk  level.

State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn said officials will evaluate county levels often. 

“So counties are going to be able to move from lower to higher transmission levels every week,” Dunn said. “But counties can only be moved from higher to lower levels after spending a minimum of 14 days in that higher level.”

The index also has a new guideline for restrictions. Rich Saunders, the interim director of the Utah Department of Health, said mandates will focus on two different types of gatherings: casual social gatherings and public gatherings. 

 

“A casual social gathering refers to the gatherings of family and friends. This includes hanging out with groups of your high school or college friends. Basically gatherings that don't have establishment or organizational oversight,” Saunders said. “These are different from public gatherings, which include venues such as movie theaters, performing venues, concerts, weddings, sporting events, and religious services.” 

Under new restrictions, casual social gatherings are restricted to 10 or fewer people in high transmission level counties; 25 or fewer people in moderate transmission level counties, but there can be more than 25 people if everyone is wearing a mask; and 50 or fewer people in low level counties, there can be more than 50 people if everyone is wearing a mask. 

Saunders said officials think casual gatherings are likely responsible for a significant amount of new cases. 

“While it may be true that in casual social gatherings, we're usually among trusted loved ones, and friends,” he said. “The virus knows no boundaries. And because we let down our guard in the settings, it's a popular point of viral spread.”

However, in public gatherings like weddings, movie theaters and sporting events everyone has to wear masks at all transmission levels. But these types of events will not be limited to a certain size, instead there’s an emphasis on social distancing. 

Masks are required in public spaces, like shops and restaurants only in counties at a high transmission level. 

For the next two weeks, though, counties in both moderate and high transmission levels have to wear masks in public gatherings and all indoor public spaces. Social gatherings are also limited to 10 or fewer people. 

Governor Herbert said police departments can enforce these rules, though he hopes they don’t have to. 

“Well, we have orders already in place where we've all said we think have worked. At the end, it hasn't been perfect. But I don't know if anybody has been cited or arrested or fined in any of the places where we have a mandate already in place by the local government,” Herbert said. “We're doing a similar thing, I don't expect there's going to be a lot of police out looking for violators.”

You can find more information on Utah’s new guidance levels at coronavirus.utah.gov.

Related Content