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Steve Griffin, KSL, File

Herbert moves Summit and Wasatch counties to yellow, low-risk COVID-19 phase

By Lauren Bennett, KSL.com | Updated - May 21, 2020 at 6:51 p.m. | Posted - May 21, 2020 at 6:13 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued an executive order on Thursday moving Summit and Wasatch counties into the yellow, or low-risk, phase for COVID-19.

The new phase comes about one week after the majority of the state moved from moderate-risk to low-risk, as outlined in the state’s Utah Leads Together plan.

The order is effective immediately, the governor’s office said.

The counties initially didn’t transition into the yellow phase with the rest of the state on May 16 due to a higher number of cases in the area.

In Thursday's order, Herbert explained the intensive care unit use relating to COVID-19 in Summit and Wasatch counties is less than 5%. Additionally, the order stated that the Utah Department of Health, as well as the county health departments, agree both counties should transition to low-risk.

“The data show that the actions of our residents and businesses in March and April paid off,” Summit County Health Director Dr. Rich Bullough said in a statement. “These results are positive but not permanent. Until the time effective vaccinations for COVID-19 are widely available, only responsible personal behaviors will help keep this disease in check."

The only remaining county still in the orange phase is Grand County; Salt Lake City, Magna and West Valley City are also in the moderate-risk phase.

According to the Utah Leads Together plan, the move from orange to yellow allows groups of up to 50 people to gather, team sports can be played, and public pools are also allowed to open — so long as social distancing practices are implemented.

The changed guidelines don’t apply to those who are at high risk for the novel coronavirus — that group must still follow strict guidelines of social distancing.

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