(ABC4) – The Utah Department of Health is changing its COVID-19 transmission index.

The changes are coming to the percent positivity threshold levels in the COVID-19 Transmission Index and to actions individuals and businesses should take in areas of “moderate” and “low” transmission.

UDOH explains that a transmission level – high, moderate, low – is determined if a county has two of the three metrics in the designated level of transmission.

Starting on Thursday, February 18, the seven-day average percent positivity metric used to determine levels of transmission will transition to the “test over test” percent positivity metric. Because the “test over test” percent positivity skews lower than the previous “people over people” the range for percent positivity in the Transmission Index will shift lower.

A seven-day average percent positivity of greater than 10% will belong to the “high” transmission category; a percent positivity between 5.1% to 9.9% will belong to the “moderate” transmission category; and a percent positivity of 5% or less will belong to the “low” transmission category.

In addition, UDOH reports public gathering requirements in areas of “moderate” transmission will be changed. In these areas, public gatherings – including live events, movie theatres, sporting events, weddings, recreation, and entertainment – may occur with side-by-side seating as long as the event host completes the event template and all patrons are wearing masks, are assigned seating, and attest to not having any COVID-19 symptoms or exposures in the past 14 days. This does not apply to an individual attending or participating in a religious service, according to UDOH.

Concessions stands must be closed in “moderate” due to an increased risk that occurs with more people in attendance and when masks are removed to eat or drink.

UDOH continues to strongly recommend physical distancing between household groups at these venues.

In areas of “low” transmission, masks will be required and event templates must be completed by hosts, but UDOH says no other restrictions are placed on these events.

For more information on the COVID-19 Transmission Index, including what businesses and individuals can do to help limit the spread of the disease, visit UDOH’s website.