Utah Gov. Gary Herbert remained optimistic Tuesday despite announcing that in-person instruction at public and charter schools in the state will be canceled for the rest of the year.
Herbert said the trends show that Utah is effectively limiting the spread of the virus, and the state is doing well with its pandemic compared to other states.
"We continue to battle COVID-19," he said. "It’s a battle that’s acute, but I think the numbers show that we’re winning."
Tuesday’s totals give Utah 2,412 confirmed cases, with 213 hospitalizations and 19 total deaths from the disease. Previously, there were 2,363 cases in the state.
The new numbers indicate a 2.1% increase in positive cases since Monday. Of the 46,476 people tested in Utah so far, 5.2% tested positive for COVID-19.
The total number of cases reported by the health department includes all cases of COVID-19 since Utah’s outbreak began, including those who are infected now, those who have recovered from the disease, and those who have died.
Tuesday, Herbert asked people to wear homemade masks while they are in public to protect others from the spread of the disease.
Utah officials, including Herbert, discussed the current coronavirus situation in the state at the daily Utah Department of Health press conference on Tuesday afternoon. Watch the replay of the event below.
The person who died was an older man from Utah County who was younger than 60, according to health department state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn. The man was considered immunocompromised and died at a hospital. His death was not related to an outbreak in a long-term care facility, Dunn added.
New data sets indicate that Utah's Hispanic and Latino population is being infected at a higher rate than some ethnic groups, Dunn said.
Data shows that ethnic group has had about 28% of Utah's COVID-19 cases and two deaths, according to the health department.
White Utahns have had the majority of cases, with about 55% and 14 deaths.
With the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations appearing promising, Herbert estimated that by the end of the summer, Utah's economy should be back up and running at full speed.
The governor's "stay safe, stay home" directive has been extended to May 1 and includes a ban on dine-in options at restaurants. However, Herbert said he expects economic recovery to take another 2-3 months.
"All the ingredients we have for a healthy economy are still in place," he said.
Toward the end of the summer, as things get back up and running, business owners and consumers may need to adjust to a "new normal" that includes more hand sanitizer stations and more people wearing masks, Herbert said.
Many of those precautions are expected to continue until a COVID-19 vaccine is made available, Herbert said. There is no estimate for when a vaccine will be available, but Herbert said he has asked federal officials to fast-track the development process.