Today, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing unprecedented times. I hope you are all following the recommendations issued by the governor and the updates issued by local counties and cities. You are probably aware that Wasatch County recently issued a public health order. Read the full report here. All state and local directive and orders can also be found here.
We also moved Utah’s status to a “Level 1” emergency. This might sound alarming but is a tactical step in allowing access to state and federal emergency funds and better coordination between state entities. On the bright side, Utahns are adapting, innovating and working together to solve problems. There have been many forms of creativity, charity and compassion within our own neighborhoods. Communities and families are organizing car parades to welcome missionaries home and wish loved ones a happy birthday from a safe distance. Duchesne County School District even kept our school bus drivers working by delivering meals at their normal bus stops. Read the news article here.
In the meantime, here are some updates on topics that continue to develop:
The Utah Department of Health posts daily updates of our state’s COVID-19 statistics. On April 5, they reported:
- 30,892 completed tests
- 1,605 positive cases
- 124 COVID-19 hospitalizations
- 8 fatalities
Based on data from other areas of the world, we expect these numbers to rise; but we are working together to slow the spread and bend the curve. Gov. Herbert asked everyone to continue to stay home as much as possible and cease all non-essential travel. President Trump has extended social distancing measures until April 30. Here is a FAQ that elaborates on the governor’s directive and appropriate social distancing. President Trump has called for social distancing measures until April 30.
Many of you may be wondering if you should be tested for COVID-19. There are resources to help you determine if you should be tested, including the chart below. You can refer to these COVID-19 symptom-checker tools, including Intermountain Healthcare and Apple. Harmons is also giving away free thermometers to help citizens monitor their temperatures. More information and updates can be found online at coronavirus.utah.gov.
Drive-thru COVID-19 testing is now available at four University of Utah Health centers: Sugar House, Redwood, South Jordan and Farmington. Another drive-through option in Park City is expected to open soon. Calling ahead to schedule drive-up appointments and ensure qualification is strongly encouraged. Learn more here. Here’s a guide created by Intermountain Healthcare:
Managing public health is critical. We are encouraging businesses to enable employees to telework from home where possible, and implement good hygiene, distancing practices and staggered shifts if remote work is not possible. Also, financial assistance is available for small businesses.
- Thanks to the generosity of the David Eccles School of Business, free virtual sessions to help your business will be available Register here.
- The Governor’s Office of Economic Development created the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program to help small businesses during COVID-19. More information can be found here.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce put together information about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed. More information can be found here.
- Is your business based in Salt Lake County? A free business relief hotline has been launched to provide immediate resources and guidance. Learn more here.
Congress recently passed H.R. 748, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This bill provides $2 trillion in federal aid to individuals, businesses, states and localities. A quick summary that breaks down how this will help address needs of businesses, taxpayers, our workforce, healthcare, housing, and more can be found here. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also prepared a brief guide to help small businesses.
Stay Safe – Stay Home
You probably heard about the Utah Leads Together plan. This plan includes strategies to help protect citizens’ health and Utah’s economy during three phases: The Urgent Phase, the Stabilization Phase and the Recovery Phase. We are aiming to lead the nation in best outcomes for health and economic stability.
In conjunction with strategies outlined in the Urgent Phase, on March 27, Gov. Hebert issued a Stay Safe - Stay Home directive, effective until 11:59 p.m. on April 13. This is a directive — not an order and should not be confused with a shelter-in-place order. The full directive can be found here. Gov. Herbert will hold daily briefings that will be available on his Facebook page.
While it’s important to get some fresh air, it needs to be done responsibly. Due to overcrowding, Utah’s state parks are currently open only to those living inside the same county. Get the latest updates on Utah State Parks here. Similar rules also apply to hunting and fishing in Utah.
Personal Protective Equipment
I’ve had constituents reach out to me about how to help with the supply of personal protective equipment and medical supplies. Learn more here.