Fighting COVID-19 in Utah, Governor, and Response Team share plan going forward, more counties go green

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – The Governor and his COVID-19 Response Team will brief Utahns today on Utah’s pandemic status, the return to school, fall, and the flu season.

The team set out the new plan for fighting the virus.

Dr. Dunn stepped out and talked about the progress from last week, she said she had been asked a lot of questions about percent positivity, she said she wanted to explain it.

“Percent positivity is a measure of testing and also the spread of COVID-19 throughout our state, to calculate it, it is the number of people tested, divided by the number of positive tests, Dr. Dunn also said that the number could change by either increasing tests or decreasing cases.

She said the White House had set some criteria on the spread of COVID-19 and percent positivity. Greater than 10% is considered high or in the red zone, 5 to10% is considered warning or the yellow zone, less than 5% is considered low or in the green zone.

Percent Positivity is a key metric to understand where we are in the course of the pandemic.

The governor talked next, addressing what happened at the beginning of the pandemic, and the struggle to make the best decisions. He talked about the process of making the best decisions for public healthcare and the strength of the economy which can go hand in hand.

He referenced the Spanish Flu Pandemic 102 years ago and talked about the things we’ve done that are the same as a century ago. In 1918 and now, wearing masks, social distancing, and limiting how people gather are common protocols used in both pandemics. It’s helped in the pandemic and the governor said, “We hope to do more as we go forward.”

He mentioned how public healthcare has worked and said “We appreciate all those who are part of the effort.”

He mentioned there have been questions about the state’s purchasing for supplies during the pandemic and said the public can visit a web page, purchasing.utah.gov/COVID-19 where people can see what has been spent and how.

The governor said, “We are concerned now as we head into the fall, we have schools now reconvening, we’re going to have more indoor activities now, less outdoor activities, we have a concern that is maybe more conducive to spreading the virus when your indoors as opposed to outdoors.”

He said the key operational word is balance. Referencing the public health and protect the health economy.

Speaker of the House Brad Williams spoke about accountability. He mentioned making sure we fight the right battles like keeping the kids in school. He mentioned the strain put on families given the school, pandemic, and work situations. He reminded everyone that we are not at the end of this fight, but in the middle, and we have a lot of work to do this fall, this winter, and next spring as we continue to manage through this virus.

He said, “Accountability is absolutely critical, the public not only deserves to be informed about what’s going as we lead through this, but all Utahns need to be involved, and do their part in this effort.” He continued, “We absolutely cannot get distracted.”

Speaker Wilson emphasized, “Now is the time to redouble our efforts as we prepare to move into the fall.”

Utah Senate President J. Stuart Adams spoke about how they have contributed and the importance of working together. First, he mentioned the last seven months and said there were a lot of things that were positive. He said our case fatality rates used to be 1.1.% and are now the lowest in the nation at .8%.

He said it’s important not to focus on one thing to measure progress but to look at it on a wholistic basis. He talked bout how things inter-relate and how people not seeking medical care can lead to more activity in the emergency rooms.

He said the metrics going forward will help them to see the whole picture.

President Adams said, ” Again, I think it’s important we stay together and we work unified, and we are in the state of Utah, and I appreciate the Governor and the speaker and their great leadership.”

Lt. Governor Cox talked about the new plan, and the data they use going forward. He showed a new website with the metrics information that helps the task force make decisions.

He mentioned they started simply, then it became complex, and now everyone is working for informed simplicity now that we know a little more.

He mentioned the new scoreboard, and then keeping the rates low. And guided everyone through the new metrics.

Finally the governor announce Box Elder and Carbon counties will be moving to the green phase.

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