Last week, Gov. Gary Herbert said he hoped the state’s risk could drop from "Orange" — moderate risk — to the "Yellow" — or low risk — zone within the next few weeks. In fact, mayors and county commissioners in Southwestern Utah (including in Washington, Iron and Kane counties) asked if they could make the transition immediately. This request was denied by the Utah Department of Health on Monday.
In Wednesday’s briefing on the coronavirus in Utah, state epidemiologist Angela Dunn said there are several factors the health department would like to see before that happens: a two-week plateau of new cases followed by a drop of cases, and how close to capacity hospital ICUs are. She said while Utah is on the second week of a plateau in new cases, we have yet to see a drop. Maj. Gen. Jefferson Burton with the Utah National Guard said tracking hospital capacity is potentially even more important, and Utah’s ICUs are holding strong. Of the state’s total cases, 8.7% have required hospitalization.
Utah has been among the top five states in terms of testing capacity, according to Burton. He said there will be 120 new National Guard members posted at healthcare facilities, mobile strike teams and at the state laboratory to help process tests.