Press Release – Oct. 22, 2020 Tooele County Moving to “High” Level on COVID-19 Transmission Index
Tooele County will be at the “high” level from October 22, 2020 – November 5, 2020, when new data will be released and analyzed. Changes to a county’s transmission index level occur on a seven-day cycle. The Utah Department of Health reviews data each Wednesday and announces changes on Thursdays. Changes from a lower transmission level to a higher transmission level may occur weekly. Changes from a higher transmission level to a lower transmission level may occur every 14 days at minimum, when thresholds are met.
After reviewing Tooele County specific data on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, metrics show Tooele County with a 13.8% 7-day average percent of positive tests, a 430.6 per 100,000 14-day case rate, and a statewide ICU utilization of 72.2%, all three of which are in the high level of transmission on the index. Levels are determined by the 7-day average percent of positive tests, 14-day case rate per 100,000 people, and statewide ICU utilization. You can see the transmission index metrics here: coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-health-guidance-levels.
Counties that meet at least two criteria for high, moderate, or low will be moved to that level. For example, if a county meets the “high” level criteria for the 7-day average percent positivity, the “high” level for the 14-day case rate, and the “low” for statewide ICU utilization, the county would be in the “high” transmission index level.
With Tooele County being at the “high” level masks are required. Masks are required in public indoor settings, and outdoors, when physical distancing is not feasible. For businesses, this includes both employees and patrons. Masks are required at any establishment that allows public gathering, such as live events, movie theatres, sporting events, weddings, recreation, and entertainment. With social gatherings, if the group is outside, staying six feet apart and wearing masks, it is still limited to a gathering of 10 people. Social gatherings of 10 or fewer are permitted. It does not matter if the gathering is indoors or outside. Restaurants and bars must require at least six feet between parties at all times (including waiting areas and when seated).
Under Utah Code §§ 26-1-30(3), (5), (6), and 26-6-3, the Utah Department of Health is required to protect the health of the people within the state and control the spread of epidemic and infectious diseases. The Utah Department of Health is given the legal power and authority to issue public health orders to fulfill these duties under Utah Code § 26-1-10. The COVID-19 Transmission Index has been approved through a State Public Health Order. This means the actions for each level of transmission risk are requirements. State and local health departments have legal power and authority to enforce these requirements.
Wearing a mask, physical distancing, washing your hands often, staying home when you are sick or test positive for COVID-19, and following public health guidelines will make a difference. Until a vaccine is widely available, these simple actions are how we will stay safe. Tooele County residents must take COVID-19 seriously and everyone must do their part to lower the transmission index.