Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 17, 2020
Tooele County requests change to green phase of COVID-19 recovery plan

Health Department: Hygiene, distance, and masks still essential 

Tooele County officials put in a request to Governor Gary Herbert and the Utah Department of Health last week to move the county to the green level of the state’s COVID-19 Economic Reactivation Plan.

The County Commission sent a written request to the state Department of Health dated Sept. 9, 2020. 

The county has been in the yellow, or “low risk” phase of the state’s recovery plan since May 15.

Currently, 13 counties throughout Utah have been allowed to move into the green phase.

If the county is allowed to move into the green, certain restrictions will be lifted.

“Symptom checks would be encouraged prior to team sport competitions or practices,” said Amy Bate from the health department. “Large gatherings and venues will be allowed with increased hygiene measures, physical distancing, face coverings, and symptom monitoring. Places of worship are encouraged to do the same. All businesses will be open and must take reasonable precautions. Dine-in service will be open with appropriate cleaning and hygiene measures.  Employees and employers must follow hygiene guidelines and continue physical distancing in the workplace, wearing face coverings when social distancing is not feasible.”

Moving to the green phase of the virus will not change the health risks associated with COVID-19, according to Dr. John Contreras, deputy director of the county Health Department.

“‘Going Green’ is associated with economic recovery moving towards a stabilization phase,” Contreras said. “This reactivation phase will be successful if residents vigilantly follow public health guidance.”

Tooele County is eligible to move into the green phase of the virus because cases have remained relatively stable during the past 30 days.

Hospital capacity in and around the county is able to handle a surge in virus cases if needed, according to Contreras.

The proxy transmission rate in the combined Salt Lake and Tooele County area has been 0.96 for the last 14 days and under 1.0 for the past 30 days, according to a COVID-19 data analysis prepared by the county Health Department dated Sept. 9, 2020.

The county is ready to move to the green phase because county officials want businesses and individuals living in the county to have the same opportunity as other already green counties, according to Shawn Milne, Tooele County commissioner.

“We haven’t yet been approved,” Milne said. “Our businesses are suffering and we want our employers and employees to have the same opportunities that other counties have. We want to emphasize that we are very fortunate to have low incident rates here. We are grateful and proud that we don’t have any deaths. We need to balance taking precautions with stabilizing our economy.”

Milne said that the Tooele County commissioners have reached out to the mayors of Grantsville, Stockton, and Tooele, as well as the school district and businesses.

Only one business said that they did not want to move into the green phase of the virus, according to Milne.

Moving to the green phase will be a slow process, according to Bate.

“As we are all working to slow the spread of COVID-19 finding a new normal will not be instant, like flipping a switch, it will be more like gradually moving a dial,” she said. “ Continuing to follow the public health protocols for minimal level of restriction or green will keep the dial moving forward and prevent it from turning back. High-risk individuals are advised to operate under stricter instructions because they are more likely to suffer severe illness from COVID-19.” 

“Even if the county is allowed to move into green, individuals should stay home whenever possible, wash their hands often, disinfect areas they have touched, wear a cloth face covering  and keep their distance from others,” Bate said.


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