Gov. Herbert announces recommendations to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus

SALT LAKE CITY (March 16, 2020) – This afternoon, Gov. Gary R. Herbert recommended the implementation of several precautionary measures across the state of Utah to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus.

“Utah is a proactive state, and a prepared state,” Gov. Herbert said. “And at this point, these measures are purely preventative. By introducing social distancing in our communities, we are hopeful that we will limit how quickly coronavirus spreads, which will in turn result in fewer positive cases.” 

Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox added that these recommendations were made taking national and global trends into account. 

“We know from watching coronavirus spread in other places that spread can happen quickly, and that if unchecked by preventative measures, it has the capacity to overwhelm healthcare systems,” Cox said. “Preventative measures taken early do much more to reduce the impact of the virus than preventative measures taken late. That is why Utah is choosing to act now.” 

These recommendations were made in conjunction with the Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force and local health departments and include: 

  • Limiting mass gatherings of more than 100 people 
  • Recommending that individuals over 60 should not participate in gatherings with more than 20 people
  • Recommending that individuals who are immunocompromised should not participate in gatherings with more than 20 people
  • Restricting visitor access to long-term care facilities and monitoring employees and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19

The governor has also approved recommendations to the Utah Systems of Higher Education and the Utah State Board of Education. Public college and university campuses will transition to online or remote teaching. K-12 schools are being asked to prepare to close. The Utah State Board of Education has approved a three-tier plan toward closure and school districts are currently working with local health officers to implement those plans.

The recommendations announced today will be effective for a period of two weeks. Limitations on mass gatherings go into effect on Monday, March 16. 

The governor’s office, in collaboration with the Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force, the Utah Health Department, and local health officers, will continue to monitor the situation in Utah regarding novel coronavirus and assess whether or not to extend recommendations past this two-week period. 

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