COVID-19 Update from the Health and Safety Committee
Utah continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases. This rise in cases is putting a strain on our medical system. Intensive care unit beds and staffing are severely limited in many of our hospitals and we all need to do our part in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Utah is now using the “transmission index” rather than the phased guidelines of “red, orange, yellow, green”. Counties are now placed in 1 of 3 transmission levels: high, moderate, low. These levels correspond directly to case rates, positivity rates, and ICU utilization. Salt Lake County and all surrounding counties are currently at the “high” transmission level. See Utah Department of Health website for what this means in public spaces: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-health-guidance-levels/
As we approach the cold winter months and the holiday season, it’s important to keep the following in mind:
- Small gatherings have been responsible for a large proportion of COVID-19 cases. This is particularly of concern with indoor gatherings without masks. Consistent masking is difficult during gatherings involving food. Per Gov. Herbert’s recent public health order, gatherings are limited to those within the same household until Nov 23rd. Consider virtual Thanksgiving and holiday dinners this year and limit indoor gatherings as much as possible with consistent masking of all if gathering is necessary.
- Get your flu shot if you haven’t already. Influenza accounts for many hospitalizations, particularly for our vulnerable populations.
- If you are diagnosed with influenza, you may have COVID-19 at the same time and should consider testing for both.
- Masks with exhalation valves should not be worn. Though they may protect the wearer, the exhalation valve exposes others to viral particles. Bandannas and gaiters have not been shown to be effective face coverings, particularly if the fabric is transparent. Please review CDC mask recommendations: