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Summit County Council Extends Emergency Health Order Until End Of Year

Summit County Health Department

Meeting in a special session on Monday, the Summit County Council unanimously voted to extend a Local Public Health Emergency Order that was first set on August 21st.    

The emergency order was issued last month by County Health Director Phil Bondurant and County Manager Tom Fisher.

It gives the county the general authority to issue mandates when they are considered timely and necessary.

The only specific mandate the county has issued so far is the Order of Constraint, first set down on August 25th, which stipulated that face coverings are required if any elementary school campus reaches a 2 percent 14-day positivity rate among the total number of students, staff and faculty.

Bondurant said that currently, none of the elementary schools has broken above 1 percent.

The Council’s vote extends the emergency order to the end of the calendar year 2021.     Deputy County Attorney Dave Thomas said the council could chose to terminate the order before then, or extend it further beyond Dec. 31st.

Bondurant told the Council that the extension is necessary, since the county is seeing incidence growth in recent days and there are constant hospitalizations.

“Yeh, we’re benefiting from the high vaccination rates.   We’re benefiting from the efforts of our business community, the efforts of our community in general.  But there’s still work to be done.  We’re not out of the woods yet.   And yes, we do find ourselves in a better situation than other parts of the state.   But that situation is not what we want it to be.  So in my opinion, my suggestion to the County Council at this point would be that we would extend the emergency declaration order which allows us as a county to act timely in situations where we find ourselves heading in the direction.    Currently, we are maintaining a very manageable, a very, not good, but a manageable trend.   And that’s because we’ve made tough decisions in times when those decisions needed to be made.”

The health director said that of the four ICU beds at the Park City Hospital, three are occupied, and those patients are COVID-19 positive.   He said the hospitalizations are generally in the age range of 65 to 84.

The state of Utah is generally not doing well.     All of the counties are classified as High Transmission, except for Daggett and Rich Counties.

Bondurant said that the numbers for those who are unvaccinated show they’re still in an emergency situation.

He said that people who aren’t vaccinated are 4.4 times more likely to contract COVID; are five times more likely to be hospitalized; and 4.7 times more likely to die.

“The fact that we’re still recording deaths and hospitalizations for COVID-19 when the vaccine is available indicates that there is still an emergency at hand, especially when vaccines are readily available, and people are still on the fence about whether they’re going to take advantage of those.  So we still find ourselves in the situation where the hospital system is being overwhelmed, our health-care workers are again at their wit’s end in trying to manage a situation that’s 100 percent preventable.”

Summit County Health Director Phil Bondurant.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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