On Thursday Gov. Herbert gave his weekly COVID-19 update. He also used it as an opportunity to announce steps he is taking to address police brutality in Utah.
There are now a total of 13,252 cases of COVID-19 in Utah, 388 new cases since Wednesday, according to Utah’s Department of Health.
“There are some parts of the state that are being hit harder than others and there’s localized outbreaks. And hot spots. But by in large we are seeing this increase in cases throughout the state. From Logan to St. George,” said state epidemiologist, Angela Dunn.
Despite the uptick in cases, Gov. Gary Herbert announced that Kane County will enter the “green” risk level and Bluff and Mexican Hat will move from “orange” to “yellow” risk status. Salt Lake City remains “orange” and the rest of the state remains paused in the “yellow” phase.
Dunn also announced a significant change to the “yellow” status. Indoor gatherings of up to 3,000 people will now be allowed and outdoor gatherings of up to 6,000 people. Herbert emphasized that face coverings are still encouraged in each phase.
Herbert also took the opportunity to reflect on the ongoing protests over police brutality in Utah and across the country.
“So, I can tell you it’s been sobering for me as I’ve reflected upon the events of the past couple of weeks and reminded that far too many within our multicultural communities continue to experience discrimination. And we can, in the state of Utah, do better,” said Herbert.
Herbert announced that effective immediately the director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Director of Indian Affairs will report directly to him.
Herbert also announced that the Department of Public Safety officers and State Corrections officers will not be permitted to use chokeholds and encouraged all police departments in the state to follow this guidance.
Additionally, the governor has ordered a report recommending police reforms on his desk by July 1. Herbert also announced a special session of the legislature next week to address both the economic impacts of COVID-19 and potential policing policy changes.