Wasatch County Council Gets Details On New Mask Mandates
Under Utah’s new COVID-19 metrics, Wasatch County is now at a HIGH level of transmission. The County Council heard from the public health department during Wednesday’s meeting.
To slow the spread of COVID-19 transmission, Governor Gary Herbert announced the new order on Tuesday. Instead of using color coded restrictions the state will use medical data and epidemiology to identify COVID transmission risks by county. As a result, Wasatch County is now categorized as a high-risk community and will require masks in public places, social distancing, and limit casual gatherings to 10 people or less. For organized gatherings up to 50 people, an application to the county health department is required.
Wasatch County Public Health Director Randall Probst told the council things will be simplified by this new system. Data will be posted every week on Wednesdays. To classify as a high-risk county, the case rate must be over 325 people per 100,000 population and fewer than 13 positive cases on a seven-day rolling average.
“As you look here for Wasatch on 100,000, this number here, 427. So, we're in the high-risk category on that one. Then if you come over to the seven-day percent positivity, we’re at 15% currently and that needs to be under 13%."
Hospitalizations and occupancy of ICU beds is one of the measurements, however it is reported based on a state average. ICU utilization currently is 72% and more than 15% of the beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. ICU utilization is currently ranked in the high-risk category and applies to all counties.
Probst says moving up or down into different risk ratings is based on the data not on subjective decision making.
“In seven days if the changes put you at a higher risk then you would move to that risk. If you want to go back down from a higher risk to a lower risk, it takes 14 days. So, if you have to stay in that level for 14 days in order to be moved. But this is automatic. this is something that we have to wait for the governor to declare. We don't have to request.”
The Council had little criticism for the new measurements with Chairperson Danny Goode expressing the only comment supporting the order.
“We got new direction from the Governor yesterday (Tuesday) and I might be in the minority here but my opinion on that is, hallelujah, thank you to the Governor.”
Wasatch High School has shifted to 100% at home learning until October 29 in response to concerns over high transmission rates associated with school.
The new orders do not address business closures or restrictions on hours of operation.
Wasatch County is one of six counties currently in the high- risk transmission index. The most recent update shows 924 cases with a ninth person who has died from the disease.
Links to the data can be found here.