COVID-19 updates


KCPW is providing regular updates of the rapidly changing news on the novel coronavirus and its local impact. Check back here for the number of cases, closures, advice, updates, and more.

5:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 3

Utah’s coronavirus cases are not slowing to the extent officials would like to see – in fact they are growing. On Wednesday, the Utah Department of Health reported that there were 295 newly confirmed cases and four new deaths from COVID-19 in Utah. The increase in cases marked the second highest jump the state has seen since the pandemic began. State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said the increase was a statewide trend and that though Utah and other states have loosened restrictions that “does not mean that the risk of spread is decreasing.” Because of the data, Dr. Dunn says it would premature to further loosen restrictions, or to decrease the official risk level anywhere in Utah.


– KCPW Producers

3:00 p.m. Monday, June 1

Nearly 10,000 people have now tested positive for coronavirus in Utah.

The latest reporting from the Utah Department of Health:

Positives:
Monday’s reporting indicates 9,999 positive cases. This is an increase of 202 cases from yesterday, and a daily rate increase of 2.1% from yesterday.

Lab Tests:
Total people tested for COVID-19 is now 218,112 people. This is an increase of 4,198 from yesterday’s report. Utah’s rate of positives is at 4.6% of total tested.

7-day Rolling Average:
In the past seven days (May 26-June 1), there have been 1,379 new positive cases reported, an average of 197 per day. Lab tests performed have increased by 19,520 over the same timeframe, for a 7-day positivity rate of 7.1%.

For the prior 7-day period (May 19-May 25) there were 1,003 new positive cases reported, an average of 143 per day. Lab tests performed increased by 19,157 over the same timeframe, for a 7-day positivity rate of 5.2%.

Hospitalizations:
Total cumulative hospitalized cases are at 789 today, which is an increase of 14 since yesterday. There are 95 positive COVID-19 cases currently hospitalized.

Deaths:
To date, Utah has seen 113 confirmed coronavirus deaths. Forty-eight of those fatalities were residents of long-term care facilities.

Recovered:
6,251 of cases are considered “recovered.” A case with a diagnosis date of more than three weeks ago, who has not passed away, is considered recovered.

– KCPW Producers

2:00 p.m. Sunday, May 31

The Utah Department of Health is reporting 264 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed coronaviruses cases to 9,797. It marks the third largest increase in cases since the pandemic began. One additional death was also reported on Sunday. The health department says the latest death was a male resident of Wasatch County under the age of 65. One hundred and thirteen people are now confirmed to have died of the novel coronavirus in Utah. Of those who have died, 48 have been residents of long-term care facilities.

– Roger McDonough

3:00 p.m. Friday, May 29

Utah is reporting its highest single-day increase in coronaviruses cases since the pandemic began. On Friday the Utah Department of Health said the 343 new cases since yesterday’s report represented a daily increase of 3.8%. In total, 9,264 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Utah. In a prepared statement, State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said that “one day does not make a trend” and that the increase could partially be explained by a lull in testing over the holiday weekend.

However, Dr. Dunn also said that Utah could be experiencing an actual uptick in cases, including from localized outbreaks, like one reported in a Salt Lake Veteran’s Nursing Home. On Wednesday the Salt Lake Tribune reported that 20 residents and four employees of the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home adjacent to the VA hospital had tested positive for coronavirus.

Dr. Dunn said that health officials will continue to watch our daily case counts closely, with the goal of preventing widespread, community transmission.

To date, 107 people have now died from COVID-19 in Utah. Forty-six of those who died were residents of long-term care facilities.

Full statement from Dr. Angela Dunn regarding today’s case counts:

While 343 new cases is the largest, single-day increase we have reported since the beginning of this outbreak, I would caution against jumping to conclusions on what this particular data point might mean. One day does not make a trend.

Comparing weekly cases over the past two weeks, we have seen a three percent increase in daily cases. Specifically, we have seen 1,197 new cases in the current week, compared to 1,162 cases in the week prior.

This increase could partially be explained by the lull we experienced in testing over the holiday weekend. It could also be that we are experiencing an actual uptick in cases, including in localized areas that are experiencing outbreaks, such as in the Salt Lake Veteran’s Nursing Home.

It is important for members of the public to remember that low and moderate risk does not mean ‘no risk.’ We all have a responsibility to be proactive and to do the things we know will help limit the spread of this virus: stay home if you’re sick, practice good hand hygiene, maintain social distancing, and when that’s not possible, wear a mask.

As the state has started to loosen restrictions we anticipated seeing new cases. But there are other important measures to consider as well. Namely the proxy transmission rate, which we base on new hospitalizations, and ICU utilization. The statewide transmission rate stands at 1.1 today, and ICU utilization remains well below our threshold level.

We will continue to watch our daily case counts closely, with the goal of preventing widespread, community transmission. — Dr. Angela Dunn

– Roger McDonough

2:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 27

Four more people in Utah have died from the novel coronavirus. The Utah Department of Health described the latest fatalities in a news release on Wednesday as:

Male, Utah County resident, between 60-85, hospitalized at time of death
Female, Weber County resident, between 60-85, long-term care facility resident
Female, Weber County resident, older than 85, long-term care facility resident
Female, SL County resident, between 18-60, hospitalized at time of death

Residents of long-term care facilities have accounted for 44 of the state’s 105 deaths from the pandemic virus.
To date 716 people have required hospitalization in Utah because of the virus. Currently 96 confirmed COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in the state. An additional 31 patients in Utah hospitals are being treated as cases under investigation for coronavirus.

– KCPW Producers

3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 26

One hundred one people have now died from the novel coronavirus in the state of Utah. The Utah Dept of Health added three deaths to yesterday’s total. In a news release the department says that the latest fatalities were two Salt Lake County men and one San Juan County woman, all of whom were hospitalized at the time of their deaths. All three were also between the ages of 60 and 85. Forty of Utah’s 101 deaths have been residents of long-term care facilities.
More than 8,600 positive cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Utah. The count increased by 99 cases over yesterday’s tally. More than half of all cases (54%) have been in Salt Lake County.

– Roger McDonough

1:20 p.m. Saturday, May 23

The latest coronavirus numbers in Utah are as follows:

There have been 8,2607 confirmed positive cases – an increase of 203 cases from yesterday. There are currently 108 people hospitalized in the state with the virus, and 57 patients in hospitals as “cases under investigation.”

The Utah Department of Health says 97 are now confirmed to have died from the virus – four more than yesterday.

The latest deaths include:
One male, Utah County resident, 65-84, no additional information
Three female, Salt Lake County residents – one of whom was older than 85 and two who were between the ages of 65-84. Two were residents of long-term care facilities.

– KCPW Producers

2:30 p.m. Friday, May 22

Ninety-three people have now died in the state of Utah as a result of coronavirus. That’s one more than yesterday’s total. According to the latest figures released Friday by the Utah Dept. of Health. Forty of those deaths are from residents of long term care facilities.

More than 8,000 confirmed cases of the virus have been documented in Utah. One hundred and eight people in the state are currently hospitalized with the virus, according to the health department, with 55 additional hospitalizations being treated as under investigation for COVID-19.

– KCPW Producers

2:30 p.m. Friday, May 15

Two more people in Utah have died from the coronavirus. The Utah Department of Health reported on Friday that the latest fatalities were:  A male resident of San Juan County, under the age of 59 who was hospitalized at the time of his death; and a female resident of Salt Lake County, between the ages of 60-84, who was the resident of a long-term care facility.  In total, 77 people have now died from COVID-19 in Utah. Thirty-seven of those deaths have been associated with long term care facilities. The health department also reported an increase of 164 new cases since yesterday, bringing the state’s total to 6,913.

– KCPW Producers

1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced Thursday that effective 12:01 a.m. on Saturday Utah will move from the orange risk level (moderate) to yellow risk level (low) with the exception of the following locations: Grand County, Summit County, Wasatch County, Salt Lake City and West Valley City. The move allows additional businesses to open their doors, raises the limit on social gatherings to 50 people (who are encouraged to practice social distancing and wear masks when appropriate), loosens travel restrictions – allowing people to travel around the state, and permits team sports to happen with certain criteria in place, such as checking for symptoms for those participating in sports and social distancing for spectators. K-12 schools will remain closed through the end of the year. Full details can be found in the State of Utah’s health and economic recovery plan.

Gov. Herbert said Thursday that wearing masks was an important part of helping to stop the spread of the pandemic in Utah.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson requested a waiver from the move from orange to yellow levels – with the aim of keeping the entirety of the county she leads in the moderate risk category. Wilson says her request was denied.

While we recognize progress is being made and we have observed a general leveling of cases, we believe that more time is needed to assess the impacts of phased re-opening. The state’s previous order went into effect on May 1 and many businesses didn’t reopen until May 4, providing only 10 days of moderate risk operation. The county had requested an additional 10 days to analyze trends to be truly confident in the stabilization of the spread of COVID-19.

Under the new order, Salt Lake County will continue to focus on targeted interventions among high-risk communities and vulnerable populations. We have increased testing, education and outreach in these areas and are seeing success. We will work closely with Salt Lake City and West Valley City to support their efforts and work toward phased reopening of these cities.

Our Salt Lake County Health Department strongly supports and follows the CDC guidelines of wearing face coverings and social distancing as the most effective ways to keep communities safe. Now, more than ever, we need to be united in the commitment to those safe practices.
-Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson

The latest coronavirus numbers are as follows:

Of Utah’s 75 deaths, 36 have been associated with long-term care facilities.

Also on Thursday, Gov. Herbert said that he would allow a moratorium on evictions in Utah to expire. Several faith groups, Crossroad Urban Center, the League of Women Voters, Utah Health Policy Project and Voices for Utah’s Children had been pressuring the governor to extend the moratorium until the middle of July. Herbert said Thursday that financial assistance was available to those who need it.
– KCPW Producers

2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12

Five additional deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in Utah since yesterday, bringing the state’s total fatalities from the novel coronavirus to 73. In an email release Tuesday, the Utah Department of Health says that the latest deaths included four Salt Lake County residents and one Weber County resident. Two were males, age 60-84. Three were females, over the age of 85. One of the patients was hospitalized at the time of their death, and four were residents of long-term care facilities.

Of Utah’s 73 deaths, 35 have been associated with long-term care facilities.

535 people have now required hospitalization in Utah because of the virus – an increase of 18 since yesterday. There are currently 99 people hospitalized in the state with the virus, and 67 patients in hospitals as “cases under investigation.”

To date more than 6,400 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Utah.

The latest 2020 summer event cancellations include the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games and the Salt Lake Greek Festival.

– Roger McDonough

2:30 p.m. Monday, May 11

Sixty-eight people in Utah are now confirmed to have died as a result of the novel coronavirus. More than 6,300 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the state and more than 150,000 people have been tested.During the daily COVID-19 briefing, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said Utah was succeeding in slowing the spread of the virus:

We’ve maintained a plateau in our cases; we continue to have ample hospital capacity and stable testing numbers. This is a sign that people are taking our public health recommendations seriously – social-distancing when possible, teleworking if possible, wearing masks in crowded places, using good hygiene and staying home when ill. – State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn

However, during Monday’s briefing Dr. Dunn said that those who are at high risk from COVID-19 need to take even further precautions. To that end, the state unveiled a new hotline to help high-risk individuals who may need additional help during the pandemic., Dr. Dunn said the help available through the hotline could include meal, grocery or medication delivery. The number is 1-877-424-4640. Employees at the Utah Department of Human Services will staff the hotline Monday-Friday from 8am to 5pm.

Last week saw 17 deaths from the novel coronavirus in Utah and was the state’s deadliest week since the onset of the pandemic.

Also on Monday, the Utah Department of Workforce services launched a rental assistance program to help residents economically impacted by COVID-19 pay their rent. The program is specifically for those whose income has been affected but who are otherwise ineligible for unemployment benefits. Monthly rent payments of up to $1,500 can be made directly to landlords. Call 2-1-1 or find your county’s help number from the list below to learn more about eligibility and how to apply.

– Roger McDonough

2:30 p.m. Friday, May 8

Utah now has now nearly 6,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 61 people have died since the pandemic was first reported in the state in March. In total, 476 Utahns have required hospitalization because of COVID-19. The Utah Department of Health reports that there are currently 92 people hospitalized in the sate with the virus, and 124 patients in hospitals as “cases under investigation.” Of the 61 deaths, 30 are associated with Utah long term care facilities.

– KCPW Producers

3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 5

The Utah Department of Health Tuesday said that six new deaths were reported from the coronavirus in Utah, bringing the total number of fatalities from the virus in the state to 56. It was the highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 since the pandemic started. Twenty-six of the 56 deaths are associated with long term care facilities in the state.

Updated case count numbers for Utah:

In a press release the health department said that of the six new deaths, three of the deaths were males, and three were females. Four were from Salt Lake County, one from Utah County, and one from Washington County. One was between 45-60 years old, four were between 61-85, and one was older than 85. All had underlying medical conditions and two were residents of long-term care facilities.

All were hospitalized at the time of their deaths.

– KCPW Producers

2:30 p.m. Monday, May 4

Four additional COVID-19 deaths have been reported since our Friday update, bringing the total of known fatalities from the novel coronavirus in Utah to 50. Around half of those deaths are associated with long term care facilities. More than 124,000 people have been tested in the state, and there is a 4.2% rate of people testing positive in Utah. More than half of all cases are in Salt Lake County and 21% are in Utah County. The updated case count tally is as follows:

During Utah’s daily briefing on the virus, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said that cases of community spread were dropping in the state. According to Dr. Dunn, “community spread” is defined as a person contracting the virus from an unknown source. She said 60% of Utah’s cases were from people getting the virus from someone in their household, 25% were instances where the patient contracted the virus from someone they knew outside of their household, and 4% of cases were from workplace spread.

Also on Monday, Dr. Dunn said that San Juan County was seeing a spike in numbers, primarily on the Navajo Nation. More than half of the region’s 116 cases occurred last week. She said the Utah Dept. of Health was providing guidance to tribal health authorities and that mobile testing units had been deployed to the area.

Separately, said that state officials were working to define criteria under which Utah might return to a red level (or high coronavirus risk level). Gov. Gary Herbert dropped the risk level to orange or moderate effective Friday, May 1. Dunn told reporters on Monday that Herbert has to take more than public health recommendations into account when determining risk levels. She said her primary concern was a new spike in cases, though she hoped that wouldn’t happen. Dunn also said that state officials would be watching the data carefully.

It was unclear if the criteria for determining risk levels would be released to the public.

– KCPW Producers

3:00 p.m. Friday, May 1

The Utah Dept. of Health reported 156 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Friday, bringing Utah’s total confirmed case count to 4,828.  Nearly three-fourths of all the state’s cases are clustered in the populous Salt Lake (53%) and Utah (20%) counties. Friday’s figures also show 13 new hospitalizations because of the virus, bringing the total number to  403 since the pandemic started. No news deaths from coronavirus were reported. In total, 46 people have now died from the virus in Utah. Utah Health Department spokesman Tom Hudachko says that exactly half of those deaths are associated with long term care facilities in the state.

Utah has for the first time deployed a coronavirus strike team to an outbreak hotspot. During Friday’s COVID-19 daily update, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said that the team was deployed to a care facility for adults with intellectual disabilities in Utah County. She said 15 of the 40 residents of the facility — and nine staff members have tested positive for the virus to date.
– KCPW Producers

3:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 28

More than 4,300 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Utah out of more than 102,000 people tested – a positive test rate of 4.2%. 370 people have required hospitalization because of the virus in the state – an increase of 21 new hospitalizations since yesterday. Forty-five people have died with the virus, an increase of four since yesterday. Twenty-two of the 45 deaths are associated with long-term care facilities.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says that the state will be decreasing its coronavirus risk level from high to moderate on Friday, May 1st. The governor announced the planned move from “red” level to “orange” level during the state’s daily coronavirus briefing on Tuesday. Herbert stressed that the change in risk level was not a return to normal, and encouraged the public to continue practices that will limit the spread of COVID-19.

The announcement has specific implications for Utah businesses among them that restaurants will be allowed to offer dine-in services if they take extreme precautions like mandatory social distancing. Curbside pickup was still the preferred route for dining, the governor said. A summary of business implications can be found at the state economic task force plan at coronavirus.utah.gov. Yesterday’s update from KCPW (below) includes a chart on the various risk levels, and a brief overview of what each means for local businesses.

The governor also reminded the public that the move to orange means that there’s still a high risk for vulnerable people, such as those over the age of 65 or with underlying health conditions.

In the same briefing Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox  unveiled a new program called “A Mask for Every Utahn.” The initiative uses funds from the federal CARES Act to contract Utah manufacturers to create 2 million masks. People can request a mask of their own at coronavirus.utah.gov/mask. Cox asked those who already had masks of their own not to request another from the state so that the supply could get to people who really need it.
– KCPW Producers

2:00 p.m. Monday, April 27

More than 4,200 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Utah out of more than 100,000 people tested – a positive test rate of 4.2%

Salt Lake County has the highest number of confirmed cases in the state with 2,190. Utah County has the second-highest number of confirmed cases with 828.

During Utah’s daily coronavirus briefing, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said that the vast majority of Utah’s 41 reported deaths were in patients over the age of 65 who had underlying health conditions. Twenty of those deaths have been associated with long-term care facilities.

State officials say they are proceeding with plans to lower Utah’s COVID-19 risk level from red to orange by the end the week. That’s a decrease from high risk to moderate risk and has specific implications for Utah businesses. A summary of those impacts from the state’s economic task force plan follows:

Health officials say that a decision to return to the red or high-risk level was possible if a rise in cases is seen.

On Monday, Dr. Dunn said that though health professionals believe some degree of immunity comes from having had the virus and recovered, other countries are seeing instances of reinfection, and so she said people who have recovered from COVID-19 should follow the same public health guidelines.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this update said that more than half of Utah’s coronavirus deaths were associated with long term care facilities. To date slightly less than half of deaths (20 of 41) are associated with Utah rest homes.

– Roger McDonough

6:00 p.m. Sunday, April 26

More than 4,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Utah out of nearly 96,000 people tested – a positive test rate of 4.3%. 345 people have required hospitalization because of the virus in the state and 41 have died with the virus.

– KCPW Producers

6:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 22

The latest coronavirus case count numbers in Utah are as follows:

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says he supports the Trump administration’s decision to reopen national parks. At an Earth Day event at the White House, the president said “we will begin to open our national parks and public lands,” but he offered no timeline. In response to that announcement, Gov. Herbert released a statement which read, in part:

Following our announcement last week to reopen state parks to all visitors, I support a safe and structured reopening of Utah’s five national parks, and other national recreation areas…We cannot, however, relax our efforts to practice safe social distancing and responsible recreation. We all play a part in keeping one another safe, whether in our communities, or recreating at a state or national park. By working together, I believe we can safely reopen these areas. -Gov. Gary Herbert

– KCPW Producers

2:00 p.m. Monday, April 20

3,213 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Utah and 268 have required hospitalization, according to the Utah Department of Health. As of Monday afternoon, 28 people in Utah are known to have died from the novel coronavirus.
State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said on Monday that the key to defeating the virus was widespread testing. She said that more drive-thru testing locations were being set up across the state. Dunn also said that Utah continues to see a 5% positive rate for all residents tested.
– KCPW Producers

9:00 p.m. Saturday, April 18

Salt Lake County announced today that some restrictions in its Stay at Home order were being eased. In an email release the county said that through coordination with the State’s Utah Leads Together plan and because the progress of social distancing efforts, residents are now permitted to move about more freely as long as they take precautions. Additionally, restaurants are now permitted to take “in-restaurant” orders for take-out food. Table service or dine-in service is still prohibited.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Salt Lake City and County Building – and then marched to the state capitol on Saturday – as part of a “Utah Business Revival” rally. The gathering, organized largely on Facebook, meant to send a message of dissatisfaction with stay at home orders. The Salt Lake Tribune estimated the crowd size to be nearly 1,000. Photos on social media showed many in the crowd not practicing social distancing recommended by medical and public health officials.

The latest case count numbers:

– KCPW Producers

10:00 a.m. Friday, April 17

Salt Lake County says 94 men in the Homeless Mens Resource Center have tested positive for COVID-19 out of 205 men tested. A press release from the county says that those who have tested positive have been moved to a county isolation facility where they can monitor their symptoms, rest, and recover while receiving three meals a day. Those who have tested negative are staying at the Men’s Resource Center and are receiving health screenings two times a day. The center is still not accepting new guests and visitors are not allowed in the facility.

Social distancing is one of the most effective methods for slowing the spread of COVID-19, but that is especially challenging in a building that houses 300 people. Despite the significant efforts made by service providers and health officials, we have reached an unfortunate situation like that seen in other similar facilities across the country.
-Salt Lake County news release

– KCPW Producers

5:00 p.m. Thursday, April 16

More than 2,600 people have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the state of Utah, with more than half of confirmed cases in Salt Lake County. At least 238 people have been hospitalized because of the virus in Utah. The Utah Department of Health reports that 21 confirmed COVID-19 fatalities have now been recorded in the state.

A special (and largely-digital) meeting of the Utah State Legislature convened on Thursday, with House Speaker Brad Wilson setting a goal of reopening the state’s economy by the beginning of May. The state’s first virtual legislative session also marks the first time lawmakers have called themselves into session, an option available in times of emergency thanks to a bill passed in 2018. Legislators are debating how to appropriate funds to deal with the economic crisis driven by the pandemic.
– KCPW Producers

9:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 15

More than 2,500 people have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the state of Utah, with more than half of confirmed cases in Salt Lake County. A total of 221 people have been hospitalized because of the virus in Utah. The Utah Department of Health reports that 20 confirmed COVID-19 fatalities have been recorded in the state.

Relief funding through the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, a component of the $2 trillion CARES Act, has now run out. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says it is no longer able to accept new applications for the program that offered forgivable loans to cover up to 2.5x average monthly payroll costs of businesses, with up to 100% of a loan eligible for forgiveness.

In a statement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza urged Congress to appropriate more money for the program:

We urge Congress to appropriate additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program—a critical and overwhelmingly bipartisan program—at which point we will once again be able to process loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks. The high demand we have seen underscores the need for hardworking Americans to have access to relief as soon as possible. We want every eligible small business to participate and get the resources they need.

– Roger McDonough

2:25 p.m. Tuesday, April 14

More than 2,300 people have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the state of Utah. Twelve additional people have been hospitalized because of the virus and one additional fatality has been recorded since Monday, the state health department reports:

Gov. Gary Herbert said Tuesday that schools in Utah would remain closed through the end of the year. Education would continue, he said, with teachers and schools innovating to try to adapt to the circumstances created by the pandemic.

During the state’s daily update on COVID-19, Utah schools superintendent Syd Dickson said that among the top priorities for educators were feeding students in need, maintaining pay for those working in education, and ensuring that students keep learning.

Salt Lake County is launching new donation stations for people to drop off hand-made cloth masks. On Twitter, the county said that it would be accepting the masks at a variety of locations across the valley. Wearing cloth face coverings in public is now recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Salt Lake County Health Department in places where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Details on drop off locations are available here.

Salt Lake City’s nonprofit bikeshare program “Green Bike,” is now offering annual subscriptions its service to essential workers – for 1 cent. In a press release Tuesday, the service said all essential workers will be able to activate their annual membership until May 1, or as long as Gov. Gary Herbert’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” directive is in place. The release said riders should remain at least six feet apart from individuals from other households while riding a GREENbike. Riders were also encouraged to wear gloves while using the service. Eligible workers can go to greenbikeslc.org/join to purchase an annual pass and apply the promo code Essential2020 to get the discount.
– KCPW Producers

2:45 p.m. Monday, April 13

More than 2,300 people have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the state of Utah.

During Monday’s update from the Utah Coronavirus Task Force, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said that 218 people had recovered from the virus in Utah. Dunn said that someone who had COVID-19 symptoms three weeks ago and survived fit the definition of recovered. Utah Health Dept. Officials say that by that metric 218 people have so far recovered from coronavirus.

Also on Monday, Salt Lake County announced that it was leasing an entire hotel to protect the highest-risk clients within the homeless community from COVID-19, and to allow for better social distancing protocols within Homeless Resource Centers.

In a press release, the county said that the move was meant to provide “Stay Home, Stay Safe” housing for roughly 130 asymptomatic clients who are either over the age of 60 or have underlying health issues. Some clients were moved in on Friday, and more expected to move into the hotel in the coming days, the release says.

These individuals are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable within our homeless community. It is imperative we do whatever we can to lessen the chances of COVID-19 impacting their lives. – Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson

The county says on-site staff, case managers, and security will be present to assist and protect clients, while behavioral health support will also be available. The county says it is leasing the hotel for at least two weeks, with an option to extend. The county said it would not be releasing the name or location of the hotel to protect the privacy of those staying there.

– KCPW Producers

4:45 p.m. Thursday, April 9

Nearly 2,000 people have now tested positive for novel coronavirus in Utah.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said Thursday that the county’s public health order will be extended until May 1st. County officials will sign the extended order by Friday, according to an emailed statement.

The order, which went into effect on March 29th, directs all individuals to stay at home except to engage in essential activities, such as errands for food and medicine or conducting work that cannot be done remotely. It also required the closure non-essential businesses, as well as playgrounds and various recreation facilities.

We are seeing the positive effects of these community-wide efforts. Let’s continue to be vigilant in our efforts. – Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson

– KCPW Producers

2:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 8

Utah will require travelers entering the state to sign a health waiver declaring whether they’ve been tested for COVID-19 or have had any symptoms of the virus.

During Wednesday’s update from the Utah Coronavirus Task Force, Carlos Braceras, executive director of the state department of transportation said that people would be presented with the waiver at the Salt Lake City International Airport and at major road entry points for the state. Drivers entering the state would receive a text message through the federal emergency messaging system directing them to a website where they would fill out a self-declaration form once they had stopped driving. Those arriving to Utah at the International Airport would be handed cards directing them to self-report their testing status and any symptoms online.

Health Dept. Officials would compile information in a database to help track the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Utah climbed to 1,846, up more than 100 cases from Tuesday. 158 people have now required hospitalization because of COVID-19, according to the State Department of Health. No new deaths were reported as a result of the virus Wednesday. In total 13 people in Utah have died from the virus and more than 36,000 people have been tested.

– KCPW Producers

4:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 7

1,738 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Utah and 148 have required hospitalization, according to the Utah Department of Health. No new deaths from the virus were reported on Tuesday, leaving the count at 13 people in Utah who are known to have died from the novel coronavirus.

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said on Tuesday that Utah has consistently had a 5% positive rate for everyone tested. However, she said what state leaders were now hoping to see a reduction in new cases.

5% positive is a lower rate than some of our surrounding states and [this] could be because we implemented social distancing measures really early in this outbreak such as school closures and in-house dining [bans] for restaurants and bars. However what we need now is a drop in actual cases to happen and in order to do that we’re relying on you as individuals to adhere to the Stay at Home directive by Gov. Herbert so that we can see the low positive test rate translate into a lower number of cases every day. -Dr. Angela Dunn

Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park is the latest park to close to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Park superintendent Linda Mazzu told the Associated Press Monday night that the ongoing flow of visitors to the park made it difficult to maintain proper social distancing. Mazzu says she made the decision with the backing of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Garfield County commissioners. Capitol Reef National Park remains the last of Utah’s five national parks still open, but its scenic drive and campgrounds are closed. Zion, Arches and Canyonlands national parks are already closed.

– KCPW Producers

3:15 p.m. Monday, April 6

Latest coronavirus case counts for the state of Utah:

The state now has 1,675 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 138 people have required hospitalization because of the virus, according to the Utah Department of Health. Thirteen people are now confirmed to have died from COVID-19 in Utah. In a press conference on Monday afternoon, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said that the relatively low increase in cases was likely due to decreased testing over the weekend.

Meanwhile the Utah House Democratic Caucus on Monday urged Gov. Gary Herbert to issue a statewide stay-at-home order. Utah is one of just nine states that doesn’t have such an order in place. On Sunday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams called on governors of states that have not issued the orders to do so – if only for a week – to help combat the spread of the virus. So far, Gov. Herbert has asked for voluntary measures from residents. However there are mandatory stay-at-home orders in a number of counties and local jurisdictions across Utah, with penalties possible for those who don’t follow those orders.

– KCPW Producers

2:15 p.m. Sunday, April 5

Latest coronavirus case counts for the state of Utah:

The counties with the highest confirmed case counts are Salt Lake County (741 cases, 62 hospitalizations), Summit County (256 cases, 16 hospitalizations), and Utah County (216 cases, 13 hospitalizations).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (such as grocery stores and pharmacies). This is because recent studies show that a significant amount of people who have coronavirus don’t show symptoms, but can still transmit the virus.

This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. – CDC

WATCH: 45-second CDC video on how to make your own face covering

CDC recommendations on face coverings (fitting, wearing/removing, sanitizing, etc).

– Roger McDonough

3:45 p.m. Saturday, April 4

Latest coronavirus case counts for the state of Utah:

The counties with the highest confirmed case counts are Salt Lake County (650 cases), Summit County (230 cases), and Utah County (186 cases).
Utah reported its eighth death from COVID-19. The patient was a woman over the age of 85 who resided at a Salt Lake City nursing facility. Health officials say she died on Thursday. Six of seven patients at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email from the Utah Department of Health. Tests were conducted after a first patient was hospitalized on March 27, 2020. Three of the other patients are currently hospitalized. Two staff members have also tested positive for COVID-19.

The health department did not disclose the name of the nursing home, though KUTV reports that Pine Creek Rehabilitation and Nursing was the affected facility.

All of the remaining residents are isolated in their rooms and nursing staff is following CDC recommended safety precautions while caring for them, the email states. Test results are pending on the remaining residents and those who test negative for COVID-19 will be transferred to another facility.

As a result of the outbreak, the affected facility will now become a COVID-19 only facility. The small, 34 bed facility, will admit only COVID-19 patients who no longer require hospital-level care.

– KCPW Producers

1:45 p.m. Friday, April 3

Zion National Park will be closed effective immediately in response to the coronavirus crisis. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said the state had coordinated with the U.S. Interior Department on the decision to close the park. In addition, the governor said the state would work to close boat ramps at Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border this coming weekend. Utah’s state parks remain open only to residents of the same county where the park is located. The governor said these limitations were meant to reinforce the message behind his “Stay Safe. Stay Home” order from last week.

Utah now has 1,246 confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 100 people have required hospitalization because of the virus. More than 24,000 people have been tested, according to the Utah Department of Health, and 7 have died.

On Friday, Utah’s new point person on the coronavirus crisis gave an update on the medical equipment available in the state of Utah. Retired Utah National Guard Adjutant General Jefferson Burton said that Utah has around 600 ICU beds total. As of early Friday afternoon 297 of those beds were filled, primarily with non-coronavirus patients. Based on projections from the University of Washington, General Burton said 227 beds would be needed at the peak of the epidemic in Utah. When it comes to ventilators, Burton said the state was also well-stocked with just under 1,000 ventilators of the type needed for patients with COVID-19 on hand, and about 28% of those being used by other patients. Based on projections, the general said Utah should have enough ventilators to meet the need.

However, General Burton said the state was less prepared when it comes to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). He said that Utah had received 165,000 of the 3.6 million N95 masks officials believe they need, and had received 76,000 face shields with a predicted need of 2.2 million shields.

Burton lauded public-private partnerships that were working to address those shortfalls.

Meanwhile, Utah is asking for healthcare volunteers to help staff overflow facilities. Overflow sites would not be for COVID-19 patients, rather for others in need of medical help to free up space in hospitals. Volunteers with a background in healthcare and/or certification(s) are needed. More information at the state’s coronavirus website.

– Roger McDonough

5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 2

There are now 1074 confirmed cases of the virus in Utah, a slight uptick from the milestone reached yesterday when the case count surpassed 1,000. One hundred people have required hospitalization because of the virus. More than 21,000 people have been tested, according to the Utah Department of Health.

Jobless claims in Utah continue to rise as tens of thousands of people are left without work in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The number of new claims filed for unemployment benefits in Utah was 28,560 for the week of March 22 to March 28, 2020, representing a nearly 50% increase over the previous, record-setting week. A total of $3,972,938 was paid in benefits, according to state unemployment officials.

In an emailed statement, Kevin Burt, Unemployment Insurance Division director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services said:

We are approaching more new claims in the last two weeks than the number of claims filed in all of 2019. The Unemployment Insurance Division staff continue to work diligently to meet this unprecedented volume. Strategies continue to be implemented to respond to this need, as well as the new benefits being described in the CARES Act, but with this historic demand there will be some disruption in our normal service levels.

– Roger McDonough

5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 1

Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert issued an executive order Wednesday instituting a moratorium on residential evictions for tenants who have been directly impacted by COVID-19. The order is effective immediately and applies only to individuals who have suffered wage or job loss as a result of COVID-19, have undergone self isolation or quarantine in compliance with an order issued by the Utah Department of Health or a local health department, or have tested positive for COVID-19. It is effective through May 15.

In an email statement the governor said:

This order temporarily suspends eviction proceedings against a small number of individuals who are unable to pay rent due to direct and identifiable impacts of COVID-19. This provides a measure of relief to Utahns who are undergoing periods of great disruption. If you can pay your rent now, you must do so.

The governor emphasized that the order does not create or order rent forgiveness. It is designed to help provide a window of leniency, not to release individuals from rental agreements. Evictions by landlords cannot be initiated until May 15. Tenants who can pay rent immediately must continue to do so. All tenants who are unable to pay rent now will be required to pay back rent when the order expires.

Individuals who have experienced job or wage loss as a result of COVID-19 can file for help through the Department of Workforce Services.

View the full order here.

– KCPW producers

1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 1

More than a thousand people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Utah and seven people have died in the state as a result of the virus. The Utah Health Department reports that 91 people have also been hospitalized by the virus in the state. The total case count in Utah is 1012 with 444 of those cases in Salt Lake County. More than 20,000 Utahns have been tested for the virus to date.

– KCPW producers

8:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 31

Utah House Democrats are urging Gov. Gary Herbert to place a moratorium on evictions, late fees, and collection fees for renters and small businesses for the next 60 to 90 days. In an emailed statement on Tuesday evening, the Utah House Democratic Caucus said, in part:

While it is admirable that many landlords have indicated a willingness to voluntarily waive rent and late fees, we know that not all of them will. Just as numerous other states have done, the governor should order a halt to both commercial and residential evictions, including non-criminal nuisance evictions, and allow renters to make back rent payments up to six months from the rental due date.

We acknowledge that this systemic problem not only impacts renters and landlords, but also banks and mortgage lenders. Reaching solutions to address all of these interwoven challenges will require more time to develop, which may likely begin soon in a special session. But for many anxious renters the urgency is now.

During this unprecedented emergency, thousands of Utahns could be further imperiled without quick action. We urge the governor to take this first step and act immediately before this issue worsens our current crisis.

A response from Gov. Herbert was not immediately available.

In other news the Utah Arts Festival announced that its 2020 festival was being cancelled. In an email statement festival organizers said the event would be postponed until June of 2021 due to the logistics of rescheduling.

On Tuesday evening organizers of the Utah Pride Festival said that event was being postponed until September. The Utah Pride Center announced the decision on Facebook after it was first reported by Q Salt Lake.

In an effort to keep everyone safe and allow the tens of thousands of people who enjoy the annual event to attend, the 2020 Utah Pride Festival is being moved to the end of September. The Pride Days theme for 2020 is Love On, Live On – our hope is that we can all focus on this message as we move through these uncertain times with optimism for better days to come! -Utah Pride Center

And Salt Lake City golf courses will re-open this week. The The Salt Lake City Golf Division announced that play will resume at Bonneville, Forest Dale, Glendale, Nibley Park, and Rose Park on Thursday, April 2. New restrictions at the courses will include mandatory prepayment online and social distancing measures.

7:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 31

Utah House Democrats are urging Gov. Gary Herbert to place a moratorium on evictions, late fees, and collection fees for renters and small businesses for the next 60 to 90 days. In an emailed statement on Tuesday evening, the Utah House Democratic Caucus said, in part:

While it is admirable that many landlords have indicated a willingness to voluntarily waive rent and late fees, we know that not all of them will. Just as numerous other states have done, the governor should order a halt to both commercial and residential evictions, including non-criminal nuisance evictions, and allow renters to make back rent payments up to six months from the rental due date.

We acknowledge that this systemic problem not only impacts renters and landlords, but also banks and mortgage lenders. Reaching solutions to address all of these interwoven challenges will require more time to develop, which may likely begin soon in a special session. But for many anxious renters the urgency is now.

During this unprecedented emergency, thousands of Utahns could be further imperiled without quick action. We urge the governor to take this first step and act immediately before this issue worsens our current crisis.

1:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 31

On Tuesday the Utah Health Dept. announced that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Utah had climbed to 887, with 396 of those in Salt Lake County. A fifth person has died from the virus in the state. The latest death was a Weber County woman who was under the age of 60. There are now confirmed cases in every health jurisdiction in the state. State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn says that 73 people have so far required hospitalization in Utah as a result of the virus.

During the state health department’s Tuesday briefing Dr. Dunn said that there had been no cases to date in which a healthcare worker who was caring for a COVID-19 patient had contracted the virus from their patient. In addition, she said that three or fewer long-term care facilities in the state had a confirmed case. Dr. Dunn stressed the importance of protecting those in Nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities, as their residents are especially vulnerable.

– KCPW’s producers

1:30 p.m. Monday, March 30

The Utah Health Department reports 806 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Utah, with 360 of those cases in Salt Lake County. Four deaths has now been confirmed in Utah from the virus.

The state of Utah unveiled a new program for providing child care for essential workers in the state during the COVID-19 crisis. Beginning today, essential workers in the state can visit jobs.utah.gov to register for free child care in the state open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at sites throughout the state.

KCPW has compiled and will continue to update a list of some economic resources for individuals and businesses facing hardships because of the crisis. Click here for additional information.

– KCPW’s producers

8:00 p.m. Sunday, March 29

As of Sunday afternoon, the Utah Health Department reports 719 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. In Salt Lake County this includes a total of 321 confirmed cases. Two deaths have been confirmed in Utah from the virus, though various media outlets are reporting additional deaths, including that of businessman and former Utah House Speaker Robert Garff.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and the Salt Lake County Health Department have issued a public health order directing all residents of the county to only leave their homes to carry out essential activities. The stipulations of the order can be found in the following graphic:

The county’s order builds on Gov. Gary Herbert’s “Stay safe. Stay home” directive, which asked for voluntary compliance from residents. The county’s order, by contrast, is mandatory and those who disregard it can face penalties and even jail time.

Rep. Ben McAdams said on Twitter Saturday that his doctors released him from the hospital after eight days to continue his recovery at home. He urged everyone to take the threats of COVID-19 seriously and to follow public health guidelines.

– KCPW’s producers

1:00 p.m. Friday, March 27

The first two NBA basketball players diagnosed with COVID-19 have been deemed to no longer pose a risk of infection to others. Utah Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell received positive tests for the novel coronavirus just over two weeks ago, prompting the suspension of the NBA season. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the jazz organization released a statement on Friday saying that the Utah Department of Health had “medically cleared all jazz players and staff, regardless of prior testing status.” The team said that though all players had completed mandated periods of quarantine, the team and jazz staff would continue to practice social distancing and would limit time outside their homes to essential activities.

At the time of their diagnoses Gobert and Mitchell were two of the first five Utahns to test positive for the virus.

There are now 480 confirmed coronavirus cases and two people have died from the illness in Utah according to the state department of health. More than 9,000 people so far have been tested for the virus in the state.

– Roger McDonough

3:45 p.m. Thursday, March 26

The Utah Department of Health says the state now has 402 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 178 of them in Salt Lake County. More than 7700 people have been tested for the virus statewide. State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn says that the state could expect to see an increase in new infections for several months.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is suspending all temple activity due to concerns over the coronavirus. The Utah-based faith said that the temporary suspension went into effect at the end of yesterday.

Summit County has issued a shelter-in-place order, the first such declaration in the state. It goes into effect tonight at midnight. County Health Director Rich Bullough says the county has been a hotspot for coronavirus and, per-capita, has an infection rate similar to New York City or parts of Italy.

19,591 people applied for unemployment in Utah last week. That number represents a sizable increase that mirrors the national picture. The three industries that saw the highest percentage of claims were those involved in food preparation and service (37%), office and administrative support (9.3%) and management (8.6%). The Utah Dept. of Workforce services says anyone who’s employment has been impacted by COVID-19 should visit jobs.utah.gov/covid19. The page also includes an FAQ for employers with questions regarding unemployment insurance.

– KCPW producers

11:45 a.m. Tuesday, March 24

The Utah Department of Health is restricting medical, dental, and veterinary procedures that are non-urgent. A new public health order by the department aims to preserve supplies of medical equipment to prepare for an expected surge in coronavirus patients.

I genuinely appreciate the willingness of Utah’s major healthcare systems, and many individual doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and other health providers, to act proactively to help us preserve the masks, gowns, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) that will be necessary in the coming days and weeks to protect our front-line doctors, nurses and other health workers and ensure they stay healthy and able to care for patients. I also appreciate the patience of Utahns who were planning procedures that will now be delayed. Although the term ‘elective’ indicates something that is non-essential, I realize this will still be an inconvenience, and for that I am sorry. As we look at the experiences of other states and regions of the world, it’s clear that those who are proactive in securing a supply of PPE are far better equipped when they see a surge of COVID-19 patients being admitted to hospitals. – Gov. Gary Herbert

According to guidance by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, examples of elective procedures include colonoscopies, cataracts, endoscopies, and other procedures that can be delayed without endangering patients.

Postponing non-essential procedures is a crucial step to help our health systems preserve PPE, and other resources that are crucial in our efforts to treat patients with coronavirus. -Dr. Joseph Miner, executive director of the Utah Department of Health.

The order is effective March 25 through April 25, 2020.

– KCPW producers

9:45 p.m. Sunday, March 22

U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, who tested positive for coronavirus last week, reported he was hospitalized Sunday after suffering “severe shortness of breath.” McAdams says he received oxygen to get his blood oxygen levels to appropriate levels. He said in a statement that he expects to be released soon.

Meanwhile, Democratic state Sen. Luz Escamilla said in a statement on Sunday she had also been diagnosed with COVID-19.

On Friday evening, after experiencing symptoms, I was tested for COVID-19. I have just been informed that my test came back positive. My family and I are quarantined and taking every precaution to avoid spreading the virus. As someone who has asthma, this is a scary diagnosis, but I am confident that I will make a full recovery.

Although I am pretty sick right now, I am continuing to work to ensure that Utah’s most vulnerable communities are not overlooked during this crisis. Thousands of Utahns are out-of-work through no fault of their own, and our state must take immediate steps to remove the threat of evictions and fees in the event that people are unable to pay rent. We must also identify and address the needs of the truckers, food service workers, grocery workers, childcare providers and others who are proving that they are indeed essential employees. They, along with our medical professionals, custodial workers and others are keeping our world moving during this difficult time. We owe them all a debt of gratitude. Finally, we must see that our tribal communities, communities with limited English proficiency and people experiencing homelessness have the support and resources they will need.

This is a challenging time and there is a lot of uncertainty, but we will get through this. In the meantime, please take this seriously. Even if you are young and healthy, please practice social distancing. If you can stay home, please do. Wash your hands thoroughly, and avoid your eyes, nose and mouth. For more information about COVID-19, please visit coronavirus.utah.gov for the latest updates and recommendations.”

– Sen. Luz Escamilla

Utah U.S. Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee are also self-quarantining on the advice of doctors after spending time with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who announced earlier Sunday that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

– KCPW producers

12:45 p.m. Sunday, March 22

Utah has reported its first COVID-19-related death. In a press release on Sunday the state health department said that the patient who died was male who was more than 60 years of age. At the time of his death, the patient was being treated at Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful.

The patient tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday and health officials say they were working to locate anyone who may have had close contact with him.

The health department reports that the state of Utah now has 181 confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 3,600 people have been tested for the virus in Utah.


More from the Sunday afternoon press release:

The Utah Department of Health is encouraging all residents to follow recommendations from its recent Public Health Order. Specifically:

  • Any individual who exhibits any symptom of illness consistent with COVID-19 should withdraw from or be excluded from any physical social event or gathering.
  • Avoid social gatherings or events of more than 10 people.
  • If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, each member of the individual’s household should self-isolate.
  • Anyone over the age of 60 or who is immunocompromised should avoid contact with any other individual except to receive critical assistance.
  • Everyone should avoid discretionary travel, gymnasiums, shopping trips (other than shopping for food and other essentials), and social visits.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If someone exhibits these symptoms and has been in close contact with a known positive COVID-19 case, that individual should immediately call their health care provider, who will coordinate with the patient to determine the appropriate next steps.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment available for COVID-19. The UDOH recommends taking preventive actions to stop the spread of germs including regular hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or an elbow, and staying home when you’re sick.

Play at Salt Lake City golf courses will be suspended starting Monday over concerns about employee safety and the risk of spreading COVID-19 through contaminated surfaces such as sand trap rakes, flags or carts.

– Roger McDonough

2:00 p.m. Friday, March 20

The Utah health department reports that there are now 112 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, the majority in Salt Lake and Summit Counties. Health experts say that number doesn’t represent the actual count of cases in the state. More than 2100 people have been tested for the virus in Utah. There have been zero fatalities to date in Utah from the highly contagious virus, according to a department’s most recent update.

On Thursday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert repealed local health order creating potential misdemeanor charges for people who gather in groups of 10 or more:

– Roger McDonough

9:00 p.m. Thursday, March 19

The Salt Lake County Health Department has revised a previous public health order to bring it into alignment with a state directive limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people. Those who violate a health order could face a misdemeanor charge.

An email statement from health department spokesman Nicholas Rupp reads:

Today, Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) amended its March 16 public health order to be consistent with the Utah Department of Health’s order that was effective yesterday. Local public health may be more restrictive than state law but may not be less restrictive (according to Utah Code 26A-1-106(2)), so when the state’s order was for more than 10 people, SLCoHD had to match that.

The order is intended to keep people at least 6 feet away from each other to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. For example, workplaces can have more than 10 people in their building but they should be separated into different rooms or by physical space. The goal is to prevent one person’s respiratory droplets from another person’s immediate vicinity.

Violation of the order is a class B (then class A) misdemeanor because that is what’s defined in Utah Code 26A-1-123(5)(a)(i)and (ii) as the criminal penalty for violating a public health order.

– KCPW producers

12:15 p.m. Thursday, March 19

This morning, KCPW’s In the Hive hosted a live Q&A on the impact of the coronavirus in Utah with a particular focus on the science behind the virus, and the implications for individual and public health. The program included answers to some frequently asked questions about how the virus is spread, the importance of social distancing, and what we know – and don’t know – about COVID-19.

Listen to the full show here.

– Roger McDonough

7:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) says he has tested positive for coronavirus. The Democratic congressman who represents Utah’s 4th district said in a statement that he has been in self-quarantine since Saturday, when he first felt flu-like symptoms after returning to Utah from the nation’s capitol.

Rep. McAdams’s statement:

On Saturday evening, after returning from Washington D.C., I developed mild cold-like symptoms. In consultation with my doctor on Sunday, I immediately isolated myself in my home. I have been conducting all meetings by telephone. My symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough and labored breathing and I remained self-quarantined. On Tuesday, my doctor instructed me to get tested for COVID-19 and following his referral, I went to the local testing clinic for the test. Today I learned that I tested positive. I am still working for Utahns and pursuing efforts to get Utahns the resources they need as I continue doing my job from home until I know it is safe to end my self-quarantine. I’m doing my part as all Americans are doing to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the coronavirus outbreak. I urge Utahns to take this seriously and follow the health recommendations we’re getting from the CDC and other health experts so that we can recover from this public health threat.

McAdams is the second member of Congress to test positive for COVID-19. Earlier on Wednesday Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla), said he had tested positive.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) was in contact with McAdams last week and has reached out to his doctor for guidance.

– KCPW producers

5:20 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

KCPW’s “In the Hive” is a hosting a live Q&A tomorrow at 10 a.m. with infectious disease specialists to tackle some of your frequently-asked questions about COVID-19.

Featuring:

  • Lindsay Keegan, Epidemiologist at the University of Utah School of Medicine
  • Keegan McCaffrey, Epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health
  • Emily Spivak, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases with University of Utah Health

Tweet your own questions using the hashtag #UtahCOVID19 or call in during the show at 801-355-8255.

Stream KCPW live here.

– KCPW producers

1:10 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

Email from Utah Health Department spokesman Tom Hudachko:

Case Counts: Today, Utah is reporting 63 total cases statewide. Utah residents account for 53 of these cases, visitors account for the remaining 10. Visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/latest for a detailed breakdown of cases.

Lab Update: Public and commercial laboratories in Utah have tested 1,222 people for COVID-19. Some large, commercial laboratories are not yet reporting negative results to the UDOH. As a result, we believe current data on number of people tested is significantly lower than the actual number of people tested. All labs are reporting positive results.

Additionally, the Utah Public Health Laboratory remains closed following this morning’s earthquake. The lab is being assessed for any potential damage. Once the assessment is complete and the building is determined to be safe testing will resume.

There were no samples being tested at the time of the earthquake. Additionally, no samples or laboratory equipment were damaged during the earthquake.

Other commercial laboratories in Utah ARE currently operational and are processing COVID-19 tests.

– KCPW producers

10:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 17

The Salt Lake City Council approved a proposal by Mayor Erin Mendenhall that would create a $1 million loan program to help local businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Salt Lake City Emergency Loan Fund will provide zero percent interest, flexible-term loans of up to $20,000 per approved business.

The city is expected to begin outreach efforts to affected businesses immediately to encourage them to apply to the program, which could begin distributing funds as early as next week. In a news release, the Council said the program’s funding could help struggling local businesses make payroll, pay bills, and keep their operations going while the community waits for the pandemic to pass.

A formal vote on the program is expected at the Council’s next meeting. Information on applying will be available at this link, beginning the afternoon of March 18th.

– Roger McDonough

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 17

State leaders have issued a two-week order suspending dine-in operations for all restaurants, bars, and food service establishments in Utah. The order takes effect Wednesday, March 18, at 11:59 p.m.

The order, issued by the Governor’s Office and the Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force, is intended to limit the spread of novel coronavirus in public spaces.

During this period, restaurants and other food service entities can continue to offer curbside, drive-thru, pick up, and delivery options. This order will be reassessed at the end of this two-week period. The order also institutes additional precautions to be taken by eating establishments, including implementing additional sanitation measures and screening employees for symptoms of COVID-19.

If a member of a household tests positive for COVID-19, all members of the household are directed to self-isolate.

Note: Many business owners affected by this and other elements of Utah’s COVID-19 response are now eligible for SBA loans. More information at SBA.gov/disaster.

– KCPW producers

1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 17

A Utah affordable housing group is calling for state leaders to adopt a statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures in response to the COVID-19 health emergency.

In a letter sent to the offices of the Governor and Lt. Governor, the Utah Housing Coalition said “significant reductions in working hours, wages, or travel restrictions pose a hardship to Utahns who already struggle to make rent or mortgage payments.”

The letter continues:

Elected leaders in other states have already taken in enacting temporary moratoriums on evictions, residential foreclosures, tax liens on residential properties, and utility shut-offs in response to the COVID-19 health emergency.

We ask Governor Gary H. Herbert, Lieutenant Governor Spencer J. Cox and the Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force to explore state-wide moratorium on evictions and residential foreclosures. We also ask our leaders to seriously consider providing financial assistance to Utahns who cannot pay their rents or mortgages due to loss of jobs or reduction in working hours.

– Roger McDonough

12:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 17

Total confirmed Utah cases: 51

Utah’s two largest hospital systems are delaying elective surgeries and other non-emergency procedures to preserve resources for their coronavirus response. Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health say they expect an influx of coronavirus patients in the coming weeks, based on the experience of other places like Italy.

– KCPW Producers

2:30 p.m. Monday, March 16

Total confirmed Utah cases: 39

State health officials say a student from Heber’s Wasatch High School was confirmed to have the virus. That case is considered an instance of community spread. No additional cases have been diagnosed in people who have had contact with the student.

The jump to 39 represents 29 Utah residents and 10 who were non-resident visitors to Utah. In Salt Lake County this includes a total of 16 confirmed cases, according to the Utah Department of Health.

In a press conference, President Donald Trump called on people to avoid discretionary travel, and to avoid dining in restaurants or bars. He also said people should gather in groups of no more than 10.

– Roger McDonough

11:30 a.m. Monday, March 16

Total confirmed Utah cases: 28

As of Monday morning, the Utah Health Department has confirmed a total of 21 cases of coronavirus among residents in the state. In addition, there were 7 confirmed cases of non-residents diagnosed while visiting Utah. In Salt Lake County this includes a total of 14 confirmed cases. Health officials acknowledge that community spread of COVID-19 is likely happening, whether or not cases are confirmed. The number of confirmed cases is expected to increase as testing capacity ramps up in Utah.

The Salt Lake County Health Department is declaring a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The department issued a health order, effective 11:00 p.m. Monday, requiring all restaurants to halt in-house operations. Takeout, curbside pickup, drive-thru, delivery (including by third-party services), and mobile food (trucks/carts) are allowed with some modifications. Food Delivery is to be a drop service only. Grocery Stores and Cafeterias are to eliminate seating areas as well as any other opportunity to congregate.

All service-oriented businesses in the county are required to implement social distancing measures. The department says social distancing should include at least 6-feet between customers. Workers symptomatic with respiratory illness or fever must not be in the business—no exceptions.

Also on Monday morning, U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney proposed a stimulus that would give every American adult $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy.

At a press conference on Monday, Gov. Gary Herbert said a new task force had been created to work on the economic impacts of COVID-19 in Utah. The governor, and Utah unemployment officials, said anyone who has lost their job, hours, or pay, is eligible for assistance through the Department of Workforce Services.

– KCPW’s producers

10:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15

Total confirmed Utah cases: 28

As of Sunday evening, the Utah Health Department has confirmed a total of 21 cases of coronavirus among residents in the state. In addition, there were 7 confirmed cases of non-residents diagnosed while visiting Utah.

In Salt Lake County there are a total of 14 confirmed cases.

The first case of confirmed community spread in the state was identified in a Summit County resident who worked as a doorman at The Spur bar on Main Street in Park City, and who hadn’t traveled or been in contact with anyone known to be infected with COVID-19. The Summit County Health Department on Sunday ordered businesses where “people tend to gather” to close for 30 days, including “resorts, restaurants, taverns, bars, entertainment venues, fitness and exercise facilities, spas and churches.” Various other locales – from schools to libraries to convention centers and venues – have been closed to try to help slow the spread of the virus.

Health officials acknowledge that community spread of COVID-19 is likely happening, whether or not cases are confirmed. The number of confirmed cases is expected to increase as testing capacity ramps up in Utah.

Also on Sunday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a recommendation that all events of 50 or more people be canceled.

In the U.S., more than 3,700 cases had been confirmed as of Sunday, according to an information dashboard maintained by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Associated Press reports that a clinical trial evaluating a vaccine designed to protect against the new coronavirus will begin Monday. The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial that is taking place at a Kaiser Permanente research facility in Seattle. Testing will begin with 45 young, healthy volunteers with different doses of shots co-developed by NIH and Moderna Inc. Public health officials say it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.

To help slow the spread of the virus, the CDC recommends frequent hand-washing, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and staying home if you feel ill. In addition, health experts say those over the age of 60 or with underlying health conditions should stay home as often as possible and visit public locations on off hours. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 and you develop a fever and symptoms including coughing or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

– KCPW’s producers

Leave a Reply