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By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Utah Department of Health is reporting a rise in cases of COVID-19 resulting in weeks of continued stress on the state’s hospital networks.

This increase in cases has prompted Gov. Gary R. Herbert to declare a State of Emergency today.

Pursuant to the State of Emergency, the governor and Utah Department of Health have issued concurrent executive and public health orders designed to curb the surge of cases in Utah.

Both orders are effective Monday, Nov. 9 and will remain in effect until Nov. 23, 2020. The orders:

  1. Place the entire state under a mask mandate. Under this requirement, all Utahns must wear masks in public, and when within six feet of anyone they don’t live with. This mandate is also enforceable in business settings, which must require employees to wear masks, promote patrons to wear masks, and post signage to that effect. Businesses that fail to do so will be subject to fines. Please note that even after the orders issued today expire, the mask mandate will be extended for the foreseeable future.
  2. Limit casual social gatherings to household-only until November 23, 2020.
  3. Put all extracurricular activities, including athletic and intramural events, on hold for the duration of the order.
    1. This does not limit intercollegiate athletic events, or practices and games associated with high school championships, that follow instructions for testing and limiting crowd size, as detailed in the order.
  4. Beginning as soon as possible, but no later than January 1, 2021, students enrolled at public and private institutions of higher education, who either live on campus or attend at least one in-person class per week will be required to be tested for COVID-19 weekly.

Gov. Gary R. Herbert said the recommendations come after a week of analysis and consideration following his meeting with Dr. Robert R. Redfield, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Both stressed that requiring masks, limiting social gatherings, and testing young populations are the most critical actions communities can take to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“To make a real difference in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and turning around the dire situation in our hospitals, we all need to do more,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “That’s why we are restricting casual social gatherings for the next two weeks. This means many of us may have to cancel plans with extended family and friends. This is a sacrifice for all of us. But as we slow the spread it will make all the difference for our overworked healthcare workers, who desperately need our help.”

To date, Utah has reported 134,868 total COVID-19 cases, with 57, 531 reported in Salt Lake County and 34,715 in Utah County.

Utah has reported 6162 hospitalizations and only 661 COVID-19 related fatalities.